Scope Festival Berlin

Alex Jønsson Trio
Alex Jønsson Trio last Wednesday at Privatclub. Photo by Ilya Tovarshinov

It was during the set of Charlottas Burnin’ Trio when I thought that I was at a hard rock concert. Electric guitarist Charlotta Andersson from Sweden led her psychedelic trio with a lot of long, unwinding psycho solos where rock was king and jazz just an aide. Earlier that night during the official opening of this year’s Scope Festival last Wednesday at Kreuzberg’s Privatclub, guitarist Alex Jønsson from Denmark was rather the opposite: his improv-heavy, almost ambient-led music was more rock-jazz than jazz-rock and went back to the late 80s indie/alternative downtown Manhattan loft scene.

Charlotta Andersson and Natanael Salomonsson during opening night of Scope Festival
Photo by Ilya Tovarshinov

From Iceland, the group Simple Minds (that’s their real name!) were on for some long-awaited changes simply because they had a tenor sax and an alto sax in their line-up. Band members from Poland and Germany (Michael Heidepriem on drums) completed their group which focussed on pretty academic, but nevertheless free-flowing improvs and several fine rhythm explorations that were not necessarily highlighting any individual instrument, but had the whole band in mind.

Monkey Plot from Norway had a rather unobtrusive, somewhat leisurely approach where, again, the guitar, this time the acoustic, was the main source. Scandinavia’s showcase evening was rounded out by a band from Finland: Virta with the avant-garde noise of the electronics and trumpet by Antti Hevosmaa didn’t really cooperate with electric guitarist Heikki Selamo and drummer Erik Fräki and their sinister, very dark brood left me completely cold.

Antti Hevosmaa of Virta. Photo by Ilya Tovarshinov

The Scope Festival continues this week with performances by Amok Amor (10/23 at Monarch), Matthias Nilsson (10/24 at Ölbergkirche), Bernhoft & The Fashion Bruises (10/25 at Prince Charles), Kiasmos Live with special guest Nicola Cruz (10/25 at Huxleys), Hess Is More (10/26 at Berghain Kantine), Bowman Trio, Jaska Lukkarinen & Black Motor (10/27 at Monarch), and Girls In Airports (10/30 at Prince Charles).



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