Text: Dominic J Stevensen
Denmark may not be the largest country, but it does attract some of the biggest stars in the world to the musical venues of Copenhagen and sometimes elsewhere. It is aided by the fact that its annual Roskilde music festival has a sterling line-up year after year during the Danish summertime. In fact, I would go as far as to say it always appears to be one of the season's 'must-see' outdoor festivals.
Eye-catching acts, for one reason or another, to appear this year are as follows:
Depeche Mode and Pink will be performing at the Royal Arena (10th February) and Parken Stadion (6th July) in Copenhagen, respectively.
Legendary 1990s guitar-wielding American punk outfit Bikini Kill will be out on another jaunt, playing at Store Vega, Copenhagen, on 9th June, as will English synth-pop legends The Human League (formed in 1977), who can be caught at the same venue on the 19th November.
Oddball British punks Idles are out in support of their new album Tangk, live at KB Hallen on 19th March, and American guitar hero John Mayer is showing off his solo skills once more at the Copenhagen Royal Arena a few days earlier on 16th March.
Radiohead offshoot The Smile will be touring their imminent second album by playing on stage at KB Hallen on 13th March, while other popular guitar bands The National (indie rock) – Royal Arena, Copenhagen, 16th August – and Queens of the Stone Age (heavier rock) – Valbyparken, Copenhagen, 10th August – will also hit Danish shores.
Any lover of British comedy will know Bill Bailey (I am pretty sure I saw him as the support act for the controversial band Kula Shaker in the mid-90s) – from Black Books or several other great comedies as well as stand-up and quiz shows in the UK. He will do a live set at Falkoner Salon in Frederiksberg in the capital on 15th April.
Nadine Shah will be touring her forthcoming fifth record by supporting legendary British synth outfit Depeche Mode in the above-mentioned concert.
Legendary dance/techno duo Underworld is returning to the live scene and is including a date at the Forum Black Box in the capital on their tour (23rd March).
"Denmark may not be the largest country, but it does attract some of the biggest stars in the world to the musical venues of Copenhagen and sometimes elsewhere."
Classical maestro Andre Rieu will be performing on two dates. The first at the Jyske Bank Boxen in Herning and the second at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen (12th and 13th June).
Anoushka Shankar, wondrous musical talent in her own right as well as daughter of genius Ravi Shankar and half-sister of Norah Jones, can be seen live at DR Koncerthuset on 14th April as part of the Copenhagen Jazz Festival (5th – 14th April 2024). As one of the final acts, she makes the end of the festival a sparkling finale.
Well-known rock gods Judas Priest are also hitting 2024 with live-action, decades after they first created, released, and performed their music. They take their Invincible Shield tour to the Royal Arena on 26th June.
Finally, I must end with the live performance of legendary UK artist Tricky at Store Vega on 18th March. Catching the genius of Tricky live is an essential experience.
I am hoping for new music from the brilliant Danish punk rock band Iceage. They never let fans down and have thus far released five brilliant albums with ever-evolving sounds and sparky, poetic English-language lyrics. They would inevitably do a jaunt of their homeland and further afield should that sixth album see a release.
Whatever genre gives you a thrill – in headphones, speakers, or the live arena – there's plenty to be caught live in lovely little Denmark. It seems an almost unavoidable stop on any European tour of note for acts of all different levels of popularity. However, she or he who does not venture to Denmark will likely play somewhere in Scandinavia, with Norway and Sweden possessing some large venues across their chief cities. For example, Zara Larsson will play in Sweden, and Ed Sheeran will play at a Norwegian festival. English folk-rock heroine PJ Harvey will also appear at two Norwegian summer fests showcasing her cracking recent album and highlights from an extraordinary 30-year career. Put simply – unmissable!