It’s day two of the festival and I enter the Medieval Park just as Mikhael Paskalev’s performance on the Enga mainstage, dishing out his brand of organic indie rock complete with plants.
Not terribly interested, I quickly head over for the days first show on the Vika stage.
The curiously named Cold Mailman straight out of Bodø, deliver some nice songs about love; (for the most part) to the happy crowd. People should be here instead of at Paskalev.
Led by all around nice guy Ivar Bowitz the band provide a pleasant show in the afternoon sun with a selection of old songs and new ones from 2013’s Heavy Hearts.
Next, I walked past Dråpe, on my way over to see Jenny Hval channeling a bit of PJ Harvey.
Long thanks to my first meeting with the unbearable heat inside the Klubben stage, I couldn’t stay long. I consumed my first and last 100 kroner 250ml box of white wine which seriously needs to be changed out for something drinkable next year.
Back on the main stage, Laura Mvula provide the surprise of the day. The band consists of strings, standup bass, piano, drums and a harp. The Birmingham England native sing lovely soul-filled ballads about heartbreak and loneliness including “Is there anybody out there?”. When she asks if it’s “ok if I get a little intimate with you guys?”, she proceeds to play a touching rendition of “Father Father” solo on the piano. Maybe it’s my hangover nerves, but I got a little misty eyed. Maybe sensing too much darkness in the set, the band “gets funky” with some more upbeat numbers including a cover of Bob Marley’s “one love”. Hopefully she will be back in a more appropriate setting in a club next time. Only having heard one song before Øya, I was impressed with the performance.
After the set, I make the mistake of heading over to check out Steve Mason whose boring songs makes me wanna slit my wrists and jump in the lake surrounding the festival area.
I decide to instead go for a drink at the newly discovered guest lounge. An action I will take multiple time this week. Not just a place for good drinks, but also a place to rest my tired feet away from the crowds.
While waiting to check out Electric Wizard fellow Bad Sounds compadre Ben and I sit and endure the crap sounds of Black Debbath. I just don’t get a lot of this Norwegian “humor rock.” Part Soundgarden and part Black Sabbath and all “ballerock”. You can keep them and Bare Egil for yourselves.
Despite the recommendation I am quickly bored with Electric Wizard who sound like by-the-numbers stoner rock Again it does not help the show is in the sauna that is Klubben so I don’t have the patience to give it much of a listen.
on site – Aku Aku Tiki Bar: hell. yes.
Fuck this shit, today is all about Wu-Tang Clan anyhow, so I decide to go drink and relax, missing both the Beatles’ cover band Tame Impala and the African sounds of Jupiter & Okwess, instead enjoying Aku Aku drinks. Hanging with the “cool kids” and rubbing shoulders with sponsor people, clearly not there to listen to music. They got it good across the bridge though. Sorta unfair really. How about having real drinks for the audience that PAID to get in next year?
The legendary Wu-Tang Clan
The Wu-Tang Clan deliver just as well as their last time at Sentrum Scene, but several people complain later about poor sound. What do you expect at a festival hip hop show? Standing in front of the soundboard, I didn’t have that problem and danced like a madman.
The whole Clan is here and sound good for being 20 years old. Even GZA whose performance has been a little lackluster the last two times I’ve seen him, is on form. As usual Method Man is running the show with Ghostface Killah and RZA. The DJ (whose name I can’t remember unfortunately) displayed some awesome skills including scratching with his elbows and head; and even kicking off his shoes to the sound of “kick off your shoes”. The setlist was a medley of hits complete with a gunshot between each song (easier than beatmixing I guess?). Method Man yells for “energy and weed” and the sweet smell fills the area (who am I kidding, that started on song one). “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” plays to honor ODB, the audience were told to “out jump the Russians” on “4th Chamber” from GZA’s Liquid Swords masterpiece, making “da W” and finally waving your hands side to side. Yeah these are all cliches but The Wu Tang bring the motherfucking ruckus still 20 years later.
Somewhere in this blur is Blur…
My hatred of whiney British 90’s indie rock runs deep, but for some reason I’ve always liked Blur; never achieving the same irritation level as Oasis or fucking Happy Mondays. Old hits seem to be packaged around later material of lesser quality. Totally normal for a band that’s existed for over 20 years. Still, Blur deliver a decent set to a packed Enga. “There’s no other way” and “Coffee & TV” are good pop songs right? Nothing to complain about here, although I move on early.
Next, it’s time to avoid Kvelertak on the way out. Too packed on a small stage (Sjøsiden) it’s almost impossible to exit. Damn these guys for being so popular. I had to walk around without a drink too long because of the overcrowding. Bastards! Just kidding, it’s ok stuff for non-hardcore hardcore fans. Enjoy the blue pill.
…That last paragraph was a filthy lie, hah! I went out the other exit by the Enga stage, thank Jebus. I’m sure they are nice guys but they are hardcores answer to Girl Talk, as they cut and paste familiar riffs into an easy to swallow formula. That’s a long review for a band that I could only hear from Dyvekes Bro, eh? I promise I will give them a chance live sometime… for what it’s worth….
Heading for Mono for the nights last show on the nr. 19 tram, I’ve got my head in my phone (apologizing to friends for not being too sociable and drinking in the guest area instead) I don’t realize I was supposed to get off the tram before I am deep into Frogner. I gotta take the train back to town.
Public Service Broadcasting
Waiting at Mono are London based Public Service Broadcasting. PBS play instrumental nerd-rock in ties AND bowties with sample heavy video and audio from WWII and post war England. The two member band feature a banjo/keys/pc/guitar player and a drummer.
They have exactly two really good songs, while the others seem sorta generic and cold like the video samples. Still, it’s a good ending to a ridiculously decadent night in Oslo.
Only THREE more nights to go!