Balkan beat as it should be

***** (5 stars out of 6); May 11 at Lille Vega

May 14th, 2012 10:02 am| by admin

Balkan music is often uncouth and rough around the edges, but it’s ultimately a music genre that's licensed to thrill, every time.  The big news in town on Friday evening was that the kings of the Balkan scene, Brooklyn-based group Balkan Beat Box, were performing at Pumpehuset in what must have been an epic show.  Yet Denmark's own Balkan favourites, cult heroes Tako Lako, were also stealing their share of the headlines at the same time, playing to a sold-out Lille Vega in a concert that proved why MTV has declared them as one of Denmark’s potentially biggest stars.

Tako Lako have had the honour of performing at both Glastonbury and Roskilde Festival, and with their debut album, Through The Mud,  set to drop in August, one can only expect bigger and better things from them this year.  Led by charismatic lead vocalist Ognjen Curcic, they took to the stage before a salivating crowd and immediately got into a party mood, primarily playing songs off their 2009 EP, Kickstart.  It's always nice to see a band that enjoy themselves on stage, without really making a concerted effort to do so. This was certainly true of Tako Lako, who were having an absolute ball on Friday night, bursting with energy and enthusiasm that spread rather contagiously to the audience.    

An interesting twist to the concert was the brief appearance of three-time Danish MC fight night master Pede B towards the end. The combination of raw hip-hop and raunchy Balkan, though only for a handful of songs, went down very well with the audience, who were responsive and cheery throughout the show. Turntablist genius DJ Noize, was also on hand to spark things up with his mixing skills, adding yet another dimension to Tako Lako's psychedelic gypsy beats universe.  

Though Tako Lako only played for a brief hour, it is clear that this a band with immense potential and plenty of accessibility. Their Balkan-infused tracks draw from a wide range of underground influences, and their on-stage collaborations with all manner of musicians from other disciplines gives them an edge over many bands at the moment. If Friday's concert is anything to go by, Tako Lako may well and truly be one of the best bands in Denmark at the moment.

Well, they were trying to (photo: Richard Masoner )
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