The same week Devo’s drummer passed away had the The Gut Feelings Festival arriving in a rainy Oslo. Gut Feelings is a DIY festival by a bunch of idealists, not necessarily too concerned with making money, and booking what they want (with some government support). It’s the kind of festival there should be more of in Oslo. The three day lineup is varied with some weight on electro bands.
Photos of No Age, The Fresh & Onlys, Ice Cream Cathedral + crowd (Day 2) by Karim Mansour. All other photos by tomb on a crappy htc x cell phone.
Wow. As the festival started, I honestly believed boredom would ensue watching an introverted singer-songwriter playing acoustic guitar to an empty room. Instead, I witness a 3-piece band fronted by Scout Niblett rocking hard in front of an early arriving good sized crowd.
Niblett and her boy scouts proceed to mix quiet-depressing songs with anger and high energy and intensity. Cat Power’s got nothing on this band, although Scout is the star of the show. You can cut the tension with a knife, but Scout is in a good mood and the show flows nicely.
She started by asking if Morten Harket is in the audience (she put him on the guestlist just in case). The crowd banter, where the left side proceeded to tell her they loved her, while the right only liked her; made for a several funny moments between songs. A nice surprise start to the festival!
Goddamned crowds. Who goes to a show to talk all the way through it?
Apparently the Gut Feelings crowd, who weren’t feeling German DJ Ulrich Schnauss set.
Then again, it’s a festival and most people aren’t there for all the bands (including myself)
Last time at Mono, Schnauss shook the house, however, this time it was more of an introverted set, possibly brought on by the disinterest of a large part of the audience.
Instead of a parade of dance hits, Schnauss brought a quieter more refined set with a backdrop of images from driving through the countryside to the view above London. It never really took off, but was a decent performance, possibly to the wrong audience.
It did not help that the sound volume was pretty low, leaving audience members free to chat about their pointless day, what they had for dinner, the rash on their ass, and other unnecessary conversation during concerts.
Next up, Australian/Swedish Kate Boy delivered generic techno, dressed like a German industrial S.W.A.T. team. The 22 year old girls in the audience loved it– what do I know. It looked like Øya Festival in there for a while…
Bad Sounds walked out before the first song was over. I guess this is big on P3, so I understand Gut Feelings booking something that will draw the average festival fan. I would just have booked a better band in the same genre.
I didn’t bother waiting around to see Familien, but from rapports I heard they continued in the same vein…
Extra points go to the soundman at Parkteatret. I am beginning to love going to shows here. Only negative thing, is the slanted floor that makes it difficult to stand for hours….well not that hard, but with a few drinks….
Day 2 arrives with Danish Ice Cream Cathedral taking the stage to a much smaller crowd than last night’s opener Scout Niblett. They proceed to play Beach House-ish electro pop, which starts out ok, but quickly gets monotonous. They also play for over an hour, so I head out for some fresh air, unfortunately missing fellow Danes Schultz & Forever.
Highlight of the day: the San Francisco boys in The Fresh & Onlys. Rocking a good sized crowd with selections mostly from their latest album Long Slow Dance. They also manage a few from 2010’s Play it Strange, including the brilliant “Waterfall” and the country-ish “Until The End Of Time”. I wasn’t blown away by their latest LP, but songs live worked well, particularly, “Yes and No”, “Fire Alarm”, “Euphoria”, and “Dream Girls” (dedicated to the Norwegian ladies in the audience, of course).
As usual lead singer Tim Cohen petitions the crowd (tongue in cheek or not) for drugs, and adds other random cheeky banter. Tim’s guitar is perfectly out of tune, which mirrors his state of mind/energy level. Bassist Shayde Sartin delivers with a flair as usual and nothing bad can be said about Kyle Gibsons super tight drumming. New to the flock is guitarist Simon who I haven’t seen before. The band is on form and deliver the goods, in a short and sweet (festival) fashion.
I’ve seen The Fresh & Only’s deliver better sets/energy including at Primavera and a crazy new years show in San Francisco, but it’s a long tour, and they do just enough to give the audience their money’s worth.
Lets just say off the bat, I am not a No Age fan. Tonight I almost made it through the entire set though. Lets state the obvious: The band could use a bassist (and possibly a singer).
Sound-wise it was messy. A lot came across as annoying pop songs with heavy fuzz and noise on top. The 90’s grunge influences are there for sure. With that said, I did enjoy the show…at times. When they first said “this is a new one” I became engulfed in the show, although only for a few minutes. I preferred the newer material, but when they finally play some old ones, it sounds exactly the same to my unfamiliar ears, continually switching between the guitar/drums and dual guitar setup.
The better lineup this evening is with drums, but the vocals are a bit better during the dual guitar setup. Even with all the changeovers, the boys in No Age are pro and put on a energetic show, playing a majority of new songs and a few old hits.
A good sized crowd seem to be having a blast. I didn’t become a big fan this evening, but they delivered a solid performance.
* * *
Once again, an excellent festival that we hope continues next year, breathing fresh air of new and unknown music in Oslo. http://gutfeelings.no/
If you missed out on the festival, here is a video by Synne Øverland Knudsen to give you a quick recap of this weekends events including Day 3 at Revolver and Hjemmets Kolonihager.