Distortion Festival 2010, Days 3 & 4

It’s taken a little time to recover but I’m (somehow) alive and ready to tell the tale of the last two days in Copenhagen for the 2010 Distortion Festival. Day three events start off a little after 7 PM with a curbside four star dinner hosted by the festival organizers. Traditional Danish drinking music tinkers through the self-powered PA while the porkchop n’ gravy, red cabbage, and boiled potato meal cements and safegaurds the dinner guests stomachs against hours of merciless drinking to follow.

From the civilized dinner setting into the cantankerous street celebration, NYC buddy Julianne, festival planner Heidi Hardgrove, and I make our way through the streets of Vesterbro, Copenhagen’s western and more recently (of the last 10 – 15 years) gentrified neighborhood. Passing the customary clusters of mobile bike sound systems, writhing revelers in animal costumes, skate borders catapulting through fire rings, and senior citizens getting their freak on to heavy metal, we settle at some park benches and collect ourselves before it really / actually gets crazy at the Carlsberg beer factory that night.

A surreal setting for the Friday and Saturday night parties, Distortion has posted seven separate event areas, a “chill-out” zone with dubious orange camping tents, and two raver buses throughout the factory parking lots, between the buildings, and even in a cafeteria area. The last of which is where I spend a good part of the night watching the Danish crowd go disco deviant to an extended set from D-I-R-T-Y Soundsystem’s Guillaume Sorge and a live performance from UK dancefloor warblers Mock & Toof. Other highlights of the night include a two ton techno dub live set by Mark Ernestus and Tikiman, the inimitable Booka Shade, and an angel guardian cab driver who scooped me up to my hotel whilst wandering the dusk streets.

I spend a good part of Saturday making my way to and through Christiana, the large self-governed commune surrounded by the serene Øresund straight, and then head to the Knippelsboro Bridge (site of the 2009 Viva Radio party w/ CFCF) for another sit down dinner (Danish hospitality is tops) and the infamous two minute rave. On said bridge, the festival parks one of its raverbuses, fills the bridge with a couple thousand party storm troopers inherently shutting down traffic, and waits for the bridge to raise at 10 PM before unleashing two minutes of raging techno. I can’t help but feel this the pinnacle moment of two consecutive years at Distortion for me, especially when Thomas Fleurquin, the festival founder, stage dives from the raver bus and crowd surfs atop ecstatic hands.

Still, there’s more ecstasy to be had and we board the Kompakt rave bus en route to the scene of last night’s crime. As we’re chauffeured to the Carlsberg factory, it feels fitting that Michael Mayer and Superpitcher are co-headlining the final night but I’ll only have a few pictures to prove I was there. Instead, memorable moments include an engaging live electro set on the Roskilde stage from Spleen United, a hypnosis session with the Giana Factory (who would fit in perfectly on a bill with Au Revoir Simone), and deeply dug sets from Tomas Barfod (another festival organizer and drummer of Whomadewho) and Hugo Capablanca of Berlin’s Broken Hearts Club.

The party didn’t end in the morning shadows of the Carlsberg buildings but the end of my rope did. Cheers to Distortion for keeping tens of thousands of people peaceful til the break of dawn night after night for so many years. Here’s to many more.

It’s taken a little time to recover but I’m (somehow) alive.