Sideways ushers in a new Finnish music festival season

Sideways ushers in a new Finnish music festival season


Gone but not forgotten

Scott Walker, Albert Finney, Mark Hollis and Doris Day. All gone in 2019. Gloom doom and cultural touchstones from a bygone era leave me reeling in a deathly dystopia. Why do I get so sad when people we like but never knew pass away? Perhaps it’s the moments when they touched our lives; scorched into our souls a memory or a feeling that is hard to lose, they contributed something that stays with me forever. I’m hoping my festival season this year creates the same feeling.

Perhaps it’s the moments when  they touched our lives; scorched into our souls a memory or a feeling that is hard to lose

My preview of Sideways festival focusses on some of my personal International highlights appearing at this year’s event.  For the second year running Sideways takes place at Nordis in the Töölö district in Helsinki, which makes for a complete inner-city festival experience. Last year the festival really worked in the new surroundings, so I’m hopeful we get even more from the location this time round.



This heading should tell you much. Sideways in 2019 won’t dominate my weekend. They’ve given us Sunday off, which is a blessing (and sensible too). Deerhunter last year were on far too late with the knowledge I had to get up early the next morning always in the back of my mind as I watched the show. Thursday is the new Friday, let’s celebrate!

Having read so much about Idles (and their much raved about album from last year), I’d like some confirmation to how good they really are. Kurt Vile is always an enticing live prospect, all slacker charm and endearing drawl. Low are able to deliver the game changing Double Negative in front of a Finnish audience for the first time. Forest Swords created an enviable noise the last time I saw them; hinting at atmosphere, menace and intensity. They could easily play the set of the weekend. Rounding off my Thursday: Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo sound interesting enough for me to delve into their hypnotic psychedelia.

Kikagaku Moyo


Set the controls for the heart of the schedule. This could take some juggling, but a plethora of great bands play on Friday at this years Sideways.

Cass McCombs is an artist who has transcended indie-environs to join a select few, such as Bill Callahan and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, who stand as living modern day standard bearers of disillusioned troubadour rock. The last time he played Finland it was a handful of people in the crowd. Don’t make the same mistake again.

Lindsay Jordan brings one indie zeitgeist from 2018 to Helsinki, so it makes sense we also get this year’s model in the form of Black Midi 

Snail Mail are owners of one impeccable album and other assorted releases. You could argue that they are the Cass McCombs antidote (or is that response?) Lindsay Jordan from Snail Mail brings one indie zeitgeist from 2018 to Helsinki, so it makes sense we also get this year’s model in the form of Black Midi. Their post-punk inspired sound is refreshingly offering something new to a genre that still feels it has possibility for growth. Jessica Pratt’s hushed tone, which combines a hint of 1960s tropical ghosts, all contribute to the sun-dazed joy one feels whilst listening to Jessica’s new (and underrated) album Quiet Signs. This will supply my break from all the noise.

Jessica Pratt


It’s almost uncanny and very timely that Stephen Malkmus plays Sideways after the announcement of a Pavement reunion. He is here with his Jicks – long jams and moshing to old Pavement tunes will be the order of the day. One is hoping Hot Chip give the giddy pop optimism of their new album, A Bath Full of Ecstasy the full festival experience. I’m All Ears, the second album from the UK duo Let’s Eat Grandma was a genre mixing synth pop delight, the listener never quite knowing where the album would take you next. Hopefully the live show follows suit. The still quirky Spencer Krug makes a welcome return and will debut some piano pieces which will probably go hand in hand with Roger Eno’s more meditative sounds.

Stephen Malkmus

What else you got?

As usual – a whole host of other activities provide a great backdrop to Sideways and a fun and creative alternative if the music gets to be too much. Roll-up Nordic wrestlers (no really), Animal karaoke, theatre, Movie Dubbing Karaoke (no really), Yoga, pinball arcades, Sideways Talks programme in-cooperation with Long Play and Yle Puhe, pop-culture trivia through the decades, Karaoke, art workshops, poster exhibitions, video jukebox, a vinyl market, Politics Radio, pop-up art gallery and lots more. If you get hungry or thirsty a wide selection of local restaurants are available on site.

Be safe and have fun.

Sideways Festival runs between the 6th-8th June.
All the info you need is here

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Article was written by

  • nick

    Editor at OQM. I’m also a co-founder and writer. I’m head of A+R at the record label Soliti.

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