Slightly worse for wear than the previous day (after witnessing a junkie walking down hill with a Fender Amp wrapped in plastic), I stumbled into the festival area where mud had started to assemble along the peripheries of the banks, and the area in front of the stage. The crowd was remarkably younger, by half a century in some cases. Young, tattooed people with denim jackets had taken the place of old men with decades of beers clinging unflatteringly to their midriffs. The grey beards gone, and the clean shaven token of youth in its place.
I managed to get to the festival, put my laptop in the press tent, and refresh myself with a free pepsi just as Oslo Ess took to the stage, much to the delight of the young tattooed gatherings draped in hair and the remains of a heavy night before. Slightly further back sat the couples waiting for Kaisers Snorekestra, on neat blankets with little packed lunches and the docile appearance of domestic bliss. Further up, the older crowd who perhaps came out of curiosity or got the dates wrong and wondered how Tom Petty had stayed so young looking. Then there was Bjarne who was on a bachelor party replete with comedic t-shirt and a group of absolutely wankered friends who tried to hoist him up on their shoulders but he was of portly stature and it proved harder than their minds deduced.
Oslo Ess walked on. Skinny jeans and more tattoos than a cross between Travis Barker + Kat Von D, they launched headfirst into “Lang Vei Til Himmelen” which immediately took the sting out of the slightly cold breeze passing through. “Kjøtt & Blod”, “Ta Hva Du Vil” and “Dette Kanke Gå Godt” brought the temperatures up, the crowd who knew them already singing their hearts out, the skeptical ones inching closer down the hill. “Carolina”, introduced as a song about an ex-girlfriend went down a treat, almost the entire first 3 rows engaged in huge singing contests to see who knew all the lyrics.
“Gaselle I Tigerstaden”, “Fritt Fram” (which introduced Onkl P, the rapper to the mix), sped by leading up to the perhaps best known/loved song by Oslo Ess thus far in their career: “Klin Gæern”.
Fists were pumped, sweat dripped, expensive beers thrown into the air (kids in africa starvin YO?). Einar Stenseng made his appearances from song to song to add some keys to the affair and a rabid harmonica shuffle, Kim still looking like he was 15 years old sitting just above the bass drum and using more drum sticks than a KFC. Petter and Knut cool and collected as always, and Åsmund reveling in the fact that the band were being so well received. You could feel the energy coming from the stage, literally, infectious. And the crowd gave as well as they received. They managed to draw from a remarkable amount of hits for such a young band. Bred with confidence, played with passion and energy, surely the path for these men points upwards. When you see the plethora of bands churning out music these days, to witness a group of people hugging and singing each word as though it was a Mike Ness lyric gives you hope that the world still has some heart left. Albeit a black one.
Dig Deeper began almost as soon as the last chords of “Alt Jeg Trenger” gave the P.A. some much needed rest. Shoved up on the small stage to the side, which is constantly obscured by a mammoth caravan of trucks driving in and out causing absolute panic and confusion within the realm of un-sober patrons, they played a 20 minute set that seemed to go down well, but to be honest I was sat in the tent writing this so I can’t really comment any further. It sounded bluesy-country-americana-ish like so many Norwegian bands do these days, but in my opinion little distinguishes between each one other than a few choice chords, or a few ugly ones.
By almost 9pm the attendance had swelled to far larger than I anticipated. I am probably not the best person to ask about the career of Kaisers Orchestra, I have neither heard a single song by them or know what impact they have had on the Norwegian scene, if any. If their sound was anything like the tunes the “DJ” was playing leading up to the set, then I was in for a treat of epic buttrock proportions.
The DJ wasn’t wrong. Moments before they went on I Facebook messaged a friend to explain what was about to happen. The reply was “Fucking Hell”. I took that as meaning the band were not going to be enjoyable.
After listening to the most wanky, pretentious, overbearing, irritating intro ever produced, induced, executed, in the history of music, the drummer came out and I knew it was all over. Pounding away on a stage that looked like a retro cafe in Paris 1954, the band entered wearing matching suits, except for the singer who stood out in his white blazer.
They burst into 3 songs which I hope never remain in my memory for longer than they physically lasted. Burdened, overbearing, crap, which of course set the crowd on fire. It breaks my heart to even mention the band in a negative light, since one of their members is a dear, dear gentleman, but the buck has to stop somewhere. Its like a band that took all the greatest hits of ten different genres over the last 50 years and distilled them into one, oak-aged, horrible rotten juice corpse.
The poncy twat lead singer who paraded at the front of the stage with a cowbell and stick hitting it with such venom and yet knowing full well that no mic could ever pick that up, the godawful first song which sounded like the intro to a Mexican Wrestling fest, then the Oasis-sounding puke-ballad that followed with as much melody and grace as a tripping penguin trying to climb stairs on a rotating carousel. The song that followed was all too much for me to take, especially when doing a quick scan to size up the audience and being confronted with some total fucking vapid orangutan girl who literally wrestled another to the ground and slid half way down the hill upsetting countless beers, consumer picnics and other items that had felt rested and secure with such direct contact with earth. There shuddered a mild sigh, and the girls arose and vanished into the rest of the crowd of citizens.
I honestly wonder. Each country has their itchy bum moment. England has Keane, Coldplay, Muse… America’s list is too long to even mention here, but Norway, for such a tiny country they are blessed with a plethora of unaccounted for SHITE. Kaizers, Big Bang, Plumbo, just further the cause of creating meaningless afterbirth music that 30% of the population love based entirely on the fact that A. they are idiots, or B. That they have never actually heard real music before.