Guide to Copenhagen Distortion 2012

by Ulrik


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Copenhagen Distortion

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Can you feel it coming in the air tonight? It’s Copenhagen’s finest street-wrecking, city festival and it’s coming for your sanity like a brain-stealing thief in the night. We heart Distortion to death, which is why we made this guide to the fun-filled shenanigans. Enjoy.

Distortion, Distortion, Distortion. Will we ever tire of your hip, party-starting ways? Yes, Probably. All good things come to an end and none of us are getting any younger, but right as of now you’re one of our favorite things in the entire world. When the bleak melancholy of winter starts to fade away, Distortion’s hedonistic, sweat-filled fiestas starts to become increasingly present in our yearning Danish minds and we begin to count the days until we can wear stupid hats and behave like batshit mental chimpanzees without a care in the world.

Copenhagen comes alive during Distortion. And if Danes are indeed ‘the Southern Europeans of Scandinavia’, then this would be the time where it becomes startlingly apparent. The otherwise reserved Copenhageners party like tomorrow will be destroyed by a blue planet called Melancholia, which more often than not results in everyone showing up late and hung-over for work from Wednesday until Friday. Yes indeed, it’s a sight to behold and it’s all starting tomorrow. Take a deep breath and jump in at the deep end.

If you’ve never heard of Distortion, it runs from Wednesday until Saturday in different parts of the city (Center, Nørrebro, Vesterbro, Refshaleøen) and it features the best that Copenhagen clubbing has to offer mixed with the freshest/latest/greatest in underground dance music from around the world. During the day everyone has a chance to participate with their own soundsystems, happenings, installations, etc. and this provides a solid warm up for the night parties, which look set to be another impressive tour de force through electronic Hitsville, judging by this year’s line-up.

Ladies and gents, transgenders and everything in-between, here are our picks from this year’s festival.

Wednesday: City
This is the day that everyone’s up for everything. The festival just started and people have been hiding in their caves all winter where they’ve been waiting for this very moment. Shit gets rowdy. In our humble opinions, you should try and pace yourself. If you have to catch everything, you should start out by checking those overlords of underground disco, the Johnny Jewel-led Chromatics who will be playing at Skuespilhuset.

But if you’re not feeling that sombre, maybe the extremely competent DJing skills of noughties phenomenon DJ Hell would be more to your tastes?

Holy crap, we almost forgot that the one and only Tyga is playing at Pumpehuset.

So then, what will it be? Or will you pick all three? If you decide on the latter, our hats off to you, Sir/Madam. A little friendly advice: don’t kick the night’s ass to much or you’ll be in trouble come Friday.

Thursday: Nørrebro
Things are now in full swing and you ‘ve gotten a feel for the atmosphere and the capacity of your mental and physical stamina. You are now no longer a festival virgin. That means you can dive headfirst into Nørrebrohallen’s extensive line-up where DJ Funk is on the bill.

The great French label, Sound Pellegrino have never been known to take any prisoners and we feel confident that their Thermal Team will be bringing their A-game on Thursday.

On the other hand, If the bouncy booty/ ghetto/house-related vibes isn’t for you and you crave something punkier, somewhere where people with a proclivity for shouting and bleeding are playing then the Posh Isolation night at Stengade is the place for you. It’s a testament to the Festival’s penchant for self-reinvention that last year’s punk rock night curated by Iceage now seems to be getting a recurring slot in the programme. Well done, Distortion. You literally rock.

Friday: Vesterbro
My, oh, my. This is the night that Andrew Weatherall, James Ferraro, Mike Skinner, Tim Sweeney and tons of other life-changingly great acts are playing, meaning that you’re in for a busy night, my friend. The festival is spread out over different stages and each stage is curated by a different booker. If you’re feeling lazy and generally have something against moving, then we suggest you stick with the Smash! Bang! Pow! Stage AKA hipster’s delight featuring James Ferraro, or the Distortion stage where Andrew Weatherall and Tim Sweeney are playing. Then again, you don’t want to miss Mike Skinner do you? And honestly, if you’re at a festival, why don’t you want to move? Go home, grampa! You’re making the rest of us old people realize our limitations.

Andrew Weatherall


James Ferraro

Mike Skinner

Saturday: Final Party at Refshaleøen
Okay, it’s time to brace yourself. If you’ve been partying for three days straight, you may think there’s light at the end of the tunnel, but we’ve got news for you sport: the final party line up has so much insanely good music packed into it that this will feel like you’re running a drunk marathon. First of all there’s a Kompakt stage featuring Michael Mayer, Reinhard Voigt, young Danes Taragana Pyjarama and our buddy Tomas Barfod.

In most cities on most nights this would constitute a solid all-nighter, an excuse to get drunk as a skunk, as the British say. But then you take a look at the 100% Silk hosted stage, which is when you realize that you need to keep your wits about you if you’re to come out of this unscathed. One of the world’s most interesting underground dance labels is giving you a showcase and it can’t be anything but glorious.

And that’s without even mentioning the Coméme stage where the mighty Matias Aguayo and the combination of Rebolledo and Superpitcher AKA Pachanga Boys will be treating you to their unparalleled brand of off-kilter house and techno. It’s enough to make a grown man cry. *sob*.

But hey ho, what’s this? Awesome Tapes from Africa are on the bill.

And so are Dirty Soundsystem (who are coincidentally also booking for the festival).

Zebra Katz will be teaching us all some knowledge.

Albertslund Terror Korps are not for the faint-hearted, but come to think of it who is really ‘faint-hearted’ these days – doesn’t that imply some sort of scenario where you’re an 1860s Southern belle whose corset is wound too tight? Check it out, we say.

And last but by no means least, you should go check out Kasper who will be playing with Bjarke as Spleen United! Yes, our graphic designer will be tearing shit up on the final night of Distortion. We have a feeling he will be playing quite a bit of acid house, which is why everyone should come to the Promilleservice stage and that’s that.

Phew, that was it for this year. It’s time to call it quits before my fingers go into a cramp from typing random music-related nonsense. Have a great Distortion, try not to lose your mind and see you at the Spleen United DJ set!