Norwegian bands at the Noorderslag/Eurosonic Weekend in Holland.

Four Norwegian acts are confirmed for the mammoth pop musical get-together known as the Noorderslag Weekend, which features also the Eurosonic showcase event. The happening is beyond dispute one of the most important of its kind and it takes place in Groningen, the Netherlands, in mid January.

Eurosonic/Noorderslag logo

The festival started out as a one-day event presenting Dutch pop talent. But it has eventually become something much bigger and it now features an additional festival, The Eurosonic showcase festival, as well as an industry seminar. The weekend thus comprises two interlaced programs, which in sum constitute a hugely important hub festival. The original Noorderslag has grown into a three day international event, yet still maintaining its emphasis on Dutch acts and incorporating the Dutch national pop award “Popprijs.” Adding to its dynamic profile the Eurosonic showcase presents a more regulated roster of European representatives where each country in the Eurosonic network has chosen one act –some send two- to present at the showcase.

Eurosonic is a partnership of national music radio stations spanning all of Europe and beyond, around the Mediterranean and the Middle East. Members belong to the world's largest broadcasting network EBU (European Broadcasting Union) and Eurosonic is a branch of this network that is committed to detecting, sharing and furthering music by non-commercial means. Eurosonic issues new recordings and live performances through a network of 70 radio stations, broadcasting to more than 500 million people. Exceptional performances from the most prestigious venues and festivals across Europe in this way trans-radiate the continent giving listeners intimate experiences of cutting edge, faraway happenings.

One of Eurosonic’s major initiatives is the showcase at Groningen. And the fact that the showcase merges with the Noorderslag program makes the weekend a truly pan-European and decisive event in terms of the promotion, furthering and general flourishing of pop music in Europe.

For next year’s festival Norwegian National Broadcasting (NRK) has selected the incongruously ear- and eye-opening duo Datarock as the Norwegian representatives. Since the release of their debut album these guys from Bergen have been embraced by the majority of those concerned with following the creative vanguard of musical pop culture.
British hype-fuelling media called them “the future of Indie dance punk” and a string of gigs this fall –most recently in Australia- have exposed people across the world to their catchy-bizarre package of music, appearance and attitude.

Another three Norwegian acts will appear at the pop festival, i.e. in the Noorderslag program. These are 120 Days, The Cheaters and Stonegard.
The former band has set a new standard regarding domestic praise, which has been tantamount to a landslide victory of full-score reviews and poll wins. And now the rest of the world is catching on too; the latest indication of which was substantial and very favourable coverage in the million-and-a-half-copy selling Rolling Stone Magazine. 120 Days are signed to Vice Records of NYC and therefore their focus has been on America so far. With the Noorderslag Weekend Europe will surely follow in the trail of infatuation that seems to follow these guys’ desperate, technological gloom.

Stonegard is a Norwegian metal band that reminds of Metallica perhaps, but with LA asphalt substituted by a ledge overhanging a roaring cataract to hell. Stonegard are fast and furious and sinister like sooty steel. But they also have a melodic vain which is rare for their genre and they combine industrial precision and brawn with epic-mindedness.
Stonegard are exited, they say, to soon be letting loose on the Dutch this amalgam of force and vision.

The fourth band, The Cheaters, made history the summer of 2006 by becoming the first band ever to be booked to the grand Roskilde festival in Denmark without having released anything, not even a single! Their fifties’ garage punk-rock, clunky-motor style has an immediate appeal (Sic.) and at Noorderslag they will appear again, still albumless but even hotter; with a four track and some swinging touring under their belts.

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