17.-19.07.2014 Bukta (Tromsø)

July 18th, 2014
17.-19.07.2014 – Photos Bukta (Tromsø)

Bukta 2014Festivals in Norway are usually rather small, compared to festivals in Germany. Bukta festival in Tromsø, high up in the north, is actually one of the bigger festivals, drawing about 6000 people per day. And it’s got a special commodity that none of the German festivals can keep up with: midnight sun!

I’ve had Bukta festival on my list of festivals that I want to visit for a long time. I expect it to be a terrific atmosphere … Sure, everyone’s used to seeing the headliners play in the dark, so it might feel a bit strange to see them play in bright daylight. And even more so if the headliners actually leave the stage and the sun is still up! But I’m not the only one who has never seen midnight sun – for most international artists, this is a situation they haven’t experienced before, and so I expect them to be amazed by the light and I assume this will create a really special atmosphere at the festival. And from all I’ve heard, Bukta is one of the nicest Norwegian festivals anyway, so I’m really excited to finally get to see it for myself!

Bukta 2014The festival takes place about half an hour walk outside of town, directly on the beach. “Bukta” itself means “bay”, and I remember walking along the coast line during my first visit to Tromsø. It was awesome – such pretty views, so clear air, so beautiful. And that was actually in October, so there was no midnight sun. And no summer! The weather forecast predicts 12-18 °C, some clouds but no rain – okay, usually I would despair at that forecast and pack my winter jacket, but for Northern Norway, that’s about the best you can expect. So let’s hope it turns out to be true and we get to experience an amazing festival!

The report was written throughout the festival, while it was happening. I hope it can capture the experience a bit!

Thursday, July 17: Opeth, Billie Van, Skambankt, The Dogs, Patti Smith

Bukta 2014The first impression of the festival grounds is pretty promising – lots of space, sloping down towards the main stage, so that there’s a good view from everywhere. Not sure yet how crowded it will get, but with the bars and food stands all set in the back under the trees, I don’t expect it to get too bad, even if the festival would sell out.

The smaller second stage is set back a bit and might be harder to access, because there are only a few narrow paths leading there. But we will see. :-)

The first band out is Opeth from Sweden, playing melodic metal. Quite a few fans have gathered in front of the stage already – quite unusual for the first band of a festival! But they deserve it – I personally don’t like bands that shout instead of singing, but the Opeth front man does both, and the quiet and melodic parts are awesome. Bukta 2014Unlike the typical opener of a festival, they joke around on stage a lot. They complain about the cold (hey, not even I am wearing my jacket yet!) – but an undershirt helps, according to the front man ;-) – and wonder why people ask them to play their favorite songs. “Do we look like a band that takes requests?!” Guess they don’t need to, they got a good set lined up by themselves. :-) And in the end, they even share some rock secrets with us: whatever riff you play – if you tune it down, it will always sound good!

Next up is Billie Van as first artist on the smaller stage. My suspicions turn out to be true – it is a bit hard to get to the stage, as people block the pathways and it looks much more crowded from the back than it actually is. So not a perfect spot for the stage – but it could be worse. Nobody is pushing, and with a bit of patience you can get through easily. And Billie Van is so worth the hassle! Adorable as ever … or wait, actually I haven’t seen her live yet, but as adorable as on the record! ;-) She gets some mixed reactions when she announces a couple of slow ballads – but well, that just means a potty break for those who don’t care for ballads, right? Bukta 2014But it doesn’t seem like it’s the right time for ballads, even if they are as nice as these. The audience isn’t really into these songs – but that changes quickly when the band starts playing some of the well-known up-tempo songs. An awesome concert, and oh … so adorable! :-)

With hardly a break, the program continues with Skambankt on the main stage. I won’t write much about their concert here – you can read all about it on skambankt.konzertjunkie.com – but iTromsø gave it a 6 out of 6 rating. And I totally agree! We get the first (and only) wall of death of the night, a lot of screaming and singing along, and a good dose of energy from the stage. Yay!

Bukta 2014Again, no time to catch a breath after the Skambankt concert: The Dogs from Oslo play on the second stage, while Kindred Fever – known from their support gigs for Kaizers – play on the smallest stage called “Little Henrik”. As I haven’t managed to find that stage yet, I decide to check out The Dogs first – and wow, they are awesome! They play rock ‘n’ roll, quite a bit like the Hives, and just like them they leave lots and lots of energy on stage. And after every song, they congratulate themselves and celebrate their good performance. I LOVE that. I’d love to stay and see the full show (I already noticed during the Billie Van concert that the gigs on the small stage get only very little time), but I still have to look for the tiny stage! Not too hard to find, it turns out – but it’s so small that there’s basically no place for the audience. ;-) So there are only a lucky few who found the stage early enough that can actually see BOTH members of Kindred Fever. But everyone else can at least listen.

Bukta 2014Or just have a beer or cider, waiting for today’s headliner! Patti Smith is quite a legend in rock music, however, I have to admit that I don’t know any other songs than “Because the night”. And throughout the concert, I get the feeling that I’m not the only one … Quite a few people seem to be really enjoying the show, especially in the front, but overall I have the impression that her music is regarded as good background music to drinking, talking, and having fun. Which isn’t a bad thing, it just doesn’t necessarily do a legend justice … But then, when Patti Smith asks us to “raise your arms and let yourself be lifted to the stratosphere – the angels are with you!”, explains that “you are the future, and the future is now!”, and elaborates that music is “the ammunition of rock ‘n’ roll” – it feels like the “legend” doesn’t necessarily include only music, and Norway’s drug laws prohibit getting the full experience. ;-) Still, Patti Smith delivers an entertaining concert. I am a bit annoyed though that while lots of people, especially in the back, don’t seem to care about what is happening on stage, all mobiles go up in the air as soon as THE SONG (thus “Because the night”) starts. Obviously, that’s what you want to show your friends – “I saw Patti Smith live, you know, the one with ‘Because the night’!”. It’s only human, I guess, but it must be annoying when you’re the one on stage and everyone just wants to hear that one song …

Bukta 2014The night (or rather the part of the night at the outdoor festival) is over around 11 p.m. – and it’s still bright daylight. Well, okay, that’s not too surprising; and not so different from Trondheim actually, so the excitement about light nights has already worn off a little for me. What I have never seen yet is actual midnight sun though. And right after the concert, the sun comes out and illuminates the hill behind the stage! Absolutely beautiful. And now that I am typing this, it’s past midnight and still light outside. So I’ll hope for less clouds and more midnight sun tomorrow – but even if that doesn’t work, the festival already proved to be worth traveling here. Nicely organized, very relaxed, just a bit … pricey. 80 NOK for a beer? 90 for a cider or wine? Whew …

Friday, July 18: Mari Boine, Spidergawd, The Bronx, Pentagram, The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Biru Baby, Dropkick Murphys

Bukta 2014It stayed dry the whole first evening, and from now on, the weather forecast predicts even better weather. There’s sun during the day, but the clouds are back when the festival area opens. But it’s still reasonably warm and dry, so no reason to complain!

As yesterday, the area is already quite crowded when Mari Boine enters the stage as first artist. Her music is very folkloristic, mostly based on sami joik, but the backing band makes it sound quite “bluesy” and modern. Mari herself is very energetic on stage, dancing, totally emerged in the music. And her band delivers the perfect background, with a great sound. It might not be the favorite style for everyone (especially considering that the next band on the main stage will be The Bronx), but it’s a great and relaxing way to start the festival day!

Bukta 2014The first band on the second stage is then Spidergawd. The announcer advises us to take care of our ear drums, because the following band will be LOUD. And they are! But not just loud, also melodic and energetic. I mean, what would you expect of a band where the drummer is in the middle of the stage – and not in the back but part of the front line? In addition, Spidergawd have a baritone sax, another promising sign. And the band lives up to the good first impression – great, melodic rock ‘n’ roll. I just fear that the singer’s voice will not live through a lot of concerts if he continues his “pressed” singing style, but well … it definitely fits the songs!

From then on, the festival turns more international, with several bands from the US. The next band on the main stage is The Bronx. I’ve seen them before, but that was as their alter ego Mariachi El Bronx – a parody band that plays mariachi songs instead of their usual hardcore. This time, it’s the “real” band on stage, and from the first second they raise the – non-existing – roof. They get the crowd to go along, they are amazed by the whole festival and the surroundings (“Look around, this is a beautiful setting – don’t take it for granted!”), and they are “beyond words” that they actually get to play to such an awesome response at a festival in Tromsø. Even though they are a bit confused about the dried fish that is thrown on stage … is that somehow related to voodoo? Are they actually supposed to eat it? They don’t dare, though … Great fun, and a terrific concert.

Bukta 2014Next up on the smaller stage is Pentagram. I admit, I don’t know them at all, so I’m a little unprepared for what I get. They play plain hard rock, nothing fancy, but good, old-school music. And the singer seems to be about 90 and possessed by quite a few demons. Check them out if you have a chance; a rather unusual experience. ;-)

After that it’s time for a short visit to Barren Womb on the smallest stage. They sound awesome, and a bit more “modern” than Pentagram. ;-)

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is the next US band on the main stage. Three guys, drums, guitar, and bass. My first impression is that they look a little lost on the huge stage though, because they are standing close together in the center instead of spreading out. But they certainly don’t behave like they are lost! They demonstrate that three people are enough to fill the stage. The sound reminds me quite a bit of the Eagles of Death Metal, just a bit less “crazy”.

Bukta 2014On the second stage, the next scheduled band is Brave Black Sea, but they are stranded at some airport and have therefore been moved to the aftershow program in the city. They are replaced by Biru Baby from up north – even further north than Tromsø. :-o I’ve never heard of them before, but I will definitely remember the name! Three girls on vocals, bass, and guitar and a drummer, all going crazy at the same time. The association with Katzenjammer lies at hand; however, except for the “girl band” factor, these two bands don’t really have much in common. Katzenjammer are nice and adorable, Biru Baby are rough, tough, and dirty. Their music is punk, with melodies sung in harmonies, and with crazy energy on stage. Probably also with (political?) messages in the lyrics, but that is hard to hear when you listen to a band live for the first time. The only downer for me: parts of the music are playback; mostly the song intros (which is okay), but also parts of the vocals. Not the main parts of course, just some harmonies, but that makes it hard to hear what is “real” and what is not. But the overall impression is great, and I’m sure the girls could do without the playback parts as well.

Bukta 2014Time for the headliner: Dropkick Murphys! I didn’t take any pictures from the press pit during the Patti Smith concert because extra accreditation was required, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t anything like THIS. Let’s put it like that: Hardly anyone in the pit is actually taking pictures of the band on stage at the beginning of the concert. Instead, everyone is facing the audience, trying to capture the atmosphere! The crowd is hot even before the band comes on, and they sing along every word right away. And that’s how it continues throughout the concert! Everyone seems to be into it, the songs are well-known (or even if not, they are easy to learn), everyone is in party mode. And the band seems just as amazed by the audience and the whole atmosphere, and comes back for a bunch of encores before finishing right before midnight. An awesome conclusion to the second day of the festival!

Still no midnight sun because of too many clouds … But well, there’s yet another chance tomorrow. And even though you get used to it quickly, it is fascinating to see a festival ending at midnight, while it feels like it’s just 4 p.m. …

Saturday, July 19: The War on Drugs, Monica Heldal, Kåre & the Cavemen, The Cheaters, Imperial State Electric, Skogen Brinner, Mastodon

Bukta 2014In Germany, three-day festivals usually start on Friday and end on Sunday. So this last day of the festival clearly has the feel of a Sunday for me! And everything fits in nicely – the weather is awesome, no cloud in the sky, the day started with a trip up Fjellheisen to see Tromsø from above, and the festival day starts with a free afternoon concert for everyone. For that, the festival grounds fill up with families enjoying a picnic in the sun. Lots of small kids with brightly colored earmuffs dancing to the music or just running around, families watching the stage from the rocks to the side, kids cooling down and playing in the water. A really nice way to let everyone be part of the festival!

Bukta 2014The first band of the main festival is The War on Drugs from the US. An excellent start, especially on this kind of day! Everyone seems to be enjoying the sun, the music, and the whole atmosphere. The music is calm, relaxed, and melodic and fits perfectly well. “I love playing in the sunset!” gets a few chuckles out of the audience as well … ;-)

Opener of the second stage is Monica Heldal. I expected her to play alone, but she brought a full backing band. And what didn’t quite work on Thursday for Billie Van works perfectly now: calm songs, a great voice, fantastic musicians (even though Monica apologizes that she might not manage everything perfectly – without any reason!), and a surprisingly good sound. The audience is obviously having fun, and Monica seems amazed by the surroundings.

Bukta 2014Without a break, Kåre & The Cavemen continue on the main stage. I had listened to some songs before and was a bit skeptical – no vocals? And right: except for a few lines in one of the songs, they only use the microphone to announce songs. Still, the music is captivating, and it is awesome to see how different instrumental songs can sound! Clearly influenced by the Beach Boys, but every song has a different style. And in the summer weather, we even get to see the “polka dot shirts” instead of the winter jackets – and an energetic show on stage.

The Cheaters continue with garage rock on the smaller stage, but they can’t really draw too many people. I guess a lot of folks are just taking a short break, sitting in the sun, enjoying the evening.

Bukta 2014The next band on the main stage, Imperial State Electric from Sweden, is listed in the program as rock band inspired by bands like KISS, The Who, and The Hellacopters. Thus yet another “inspired” rock band that sounds like everyone else …? No, far from it! Even though there aren’t that many people in front of the stage when they come out, Imperial State Electric give everything from the first second – and as a result, it takes only a few songs until people are dancing and clapping. Melodic rock, the chorus sung in harmonies, lots of energy on stage, guitar solos, and audience involvement. Awesome!

Unfortunately, Skogen Brinner on the second stage aren’t quite as energetic. The idea to mix hard rock à la Black Sabbath with Swedish lyrics sounds interesting, but a shoe-gaze band just doesn’t fit that style. ;-) So – time for a short break for me!

Bukta 2014But really just a short break, because the final headliner Mastodon starts right on time – just like all bands of the festival. Great time management! Quite a few people seem to be waiting for the metal band from the US, but it is in no way comparable to yesterday’s headliner. Still, a more than worthy conclusion of the festival! Mastodon play a tight and precise set, and you don’t need to know the songs to enjoy their show. The ending comes a bit sudden, especially since they don’t play an encore – but the drummer gets the last words: “Thank you, the Arctic Circle! I always wanted to say that.”

And I can totally agree: Thanks for an awesome festival up north! Even though I did not get to see real midnight sun (even on the last day, when the sun was clearly visible until 10:30 pm, clouds came up just in time to “ruin” the experience) – but the festival was totally worth the visit.

Conclusion

Bukta 2014I had heard from several people before the festival that Bukta is one of the best and nicest Norwegian festivals. And yes, now that I’ve seen and experienced it, I can absolutely second that! :-) The line up was very varied, which means that you don’t have a specific kind of audience, but everybody comes by, no matter the favorite style of music, no matter the age. That gives the festival a special flair.

The festival grounds are nice and convenient: no long walks between the stages, lots of space and never too crowded, and what I expected to maybe be a bit of a problem – the narrow pathways between the two stages – turned out to really not be a bother at all. The infrastructure works; I stayed very close to the festival and did not need to take a bus to get back to the city at night, but that looked to be organized very nicely as well, and the wait for a bus didn’t seem to be very long. The food I tried was really good – quite a bit of variety. But hardly a vegetarian option, and no snacks. Maybe I’m a bit spoiled from German festivals where you can always choose to have for example just fries or some other small snack if you’re not really that hungry (and don’t want to spend the money for a full meal). This option is missing. And of course, drinks are incredibly expensive – but well, this is Norway …

Bukta 2014And then there are a few little things that make Bukta special and distinguish it from other festivals. The midnight sun, for one thing – it’s weird if it doesn’t get dark throughout the evening, but it’s a great experience. And, honestly: it is SOOOO convenient! Not only for taking photos, but also for finding people. Or not tripping. Or not being disturbed by the guy in front of you filming the whole show. And sure, the light show isn’t as impressive. But the stages are dark enough that light can be used and isn’t totally wasted! I had expected much less and was impressed by how good everything looked.

If you checked out some of the photos, I probably don’t even need to mention the next Brownie point, but: the scenery! The surroundings are just incredibly beautiful, and that adds a lot to the atmosphere of the festival.

Also: the stockfish. There’s a rack of stockfish available for everyone to hammer (to make it eatable) – and as a result, lots of people walk around with a piece of fish in their hands, snacking on it. Or throwing it on stage, of course. ;-)

And finally, I just LOVE the knitted cup holders lots of people are wearing around their necks. Really convenient, but I’ve never seen that before.

So, even though I’ve been to lots of different festivals before, Bukta really was an extraordinary experience. Great fun, great music, great location – I will be back, I hope!

Bukta 2014

Festivals 2014

April 30th, 2014

Time to plan this year’s festival season! Usually, I do this in a very similar pattern every year: Mini Rock and Taubertal are planned right from the start. Then I add some festivals in Norway where my favorite Norwegian bands are playing and the remaining line-up is interesting and fun, and then I search around for festivals that happen on the weekends that aren’t filled yet and that look like they are worth checking out.

This year, everything’s a bit different, and a bit more difficult. I’ll be moving this summer, and if I do something, I do it right, and therefore I’ll move from Germany to Norway. The plan is to move around August 1st, which means that Mini Rock will be really difficult to catch, and Taubertal might be impossible as well – really sad. But then, I’m absolutely used to stress in summer! So let’s wait and see … maybe it’ll work out after all

These are the festivals that I have on my list right now – let’s see which of these I’ll actually get to see:

Bukta (Tromsø, July 17-19, 2014)

www.bukta.no

The special thing about this festival: It takes place in Tromsø, thus above the polar circle, during the time of the midnight sun. I always wanted to experience that – and this year, it looks like it will actually work out. During the last weeks, quite a few real highlights were added to the line-up: Skambankt are of course my main reason for visiting, but the Dropkick Murphys, Patti Smith, and several Norwegian newcomers like Billie Van really make it worth taking the trip up north.

Check out the line-up on bukta.no. Tickets cost 1400 NOK (about 170 Euro) for three days – which is not cheap, but pretty “normal” for Norway.

Mini Rock (Horb am Neckar, August 1+2, 2014)

www.mini-rock-festival.de

Not too big, friendly and likable, well organized – and always with a great line-up that contains both well-known names and surprises. This year, the headliners are Anti-Flag and SDP; which gives a good idea about the broad coverage of the festival. And the best part about this variety: The audience goes along with it! There are always fans in front of the stages, they are interested in what is happening, nobody complains about the “wrong” style of music, but people will just come and check out what they like and let others stand in the front if they like it better. And I think that this is mostly what characterizes the flair of the festival. Trailerpark, Maxim, and the Emil Bulls continue the mix of genres … or, to put it differently: Everybody will get to see the bands they love! And those that don’t care for the next act on the main stage can just check out the tent stage instead. Usually, there are always great bands to discover there.

Check out the full line-up here. Tickets are only 59 Euro including camping and “trash deposit” (which you’ll get back if you keep your camp site clean).

Taubertal (Rothenburg ob der Tauber, August 8-10, 2014)

www.taubertal-festival.de

If it works out for me this year, this will be my seventh Taubertal festival in a row. Why? Because it’s always awesome! The line-up is always right up my alley, the headliners are first class, and the festival grounds are arranged in a way that you can always find a spot with a good view of the stage, even if it’s really crowded. In addition, you can choose between camping and getting a hotel in the city. And either way you can always take a trip to the city center, either walking or taking the shuttle, which means that you have the free choice to start the day with breakfast at some café in town or in the festival beergarden, cooling your feet in the Tauber. Oh right, and then there’s music! This year, some of the acts are Seeed, Biffy Clyro, Casper, Sportfreunde Stiller, Ska-P, and the Subways. Plus SDP and Die Schröders – and many more, of course! The line-up itself is awesome; and if you additionally have lots of memories from previous gigs of these bands at Taubertal – The Subways after the Flood in 2011, Die Schröders on Sunday morning in 2008, Biffy Clyro as the big surprise last year – it’s hard to wait for the festival to start!

You can find the list of all announced bands here. Tickets for the whole festival are 105 Euro, or 50 Euro per day. There are also VIP tickets for 200 resp. 80 Euro. If you like your festival a bit more comfortable, these tickets are definitely worth the extra money.

Pstereo (Trondheim, August 15+16, 2014)

www.pstereo.no

THE festival in Trondheim – I’ve never been there before, because even though it is a huge festival, the line-up never really convinced me. I guess that’s mostly because the headliners are often huge American or British bands, and it’s easier and cheaper for me to see them at festivals in Germany. ;-) It’s actually the same this year – Biffy Clyro will play at Taubertal Festival as well, and Franz Ferdinand were at Rock’n’Heim last year. But of course, Skambankt are a big plus and the reason for me to NOT miss the festival this year! Oh, and of course the little detail that I will be living in Trondheim from August. ;-)

Here‘s the current line-up, and tickets are 1300 NOK (about 160 Euro).

Verket (Mo i Rana, August 29+30, 2014)

www.verketfestival.no

I’ve been to Verket Festival in Mo i Rana once before, five years ago. Mo i Rana is very far up north as well, just beneath the Arctic Circle. 2009 was the first time the festival was held. In the following years, the line-up was always awesome – but Mo i Rana is a “bit” hard to get to, and without any of my favorite bands in the line-up, I wasn’t really motivated to travel up there again. This year, Skambankt will be playing at Verket; and from Trondheim, it’s only a short trip (more precisely: about 6 hours *g*) to Mo i Rana. Yay! And except for Skambankt, the other announced bands up to now are Seigmen, Morten Harket, and Satyricon, amongst others. Did I say “Yay!” already? ;-)

Not all bands have been announced yet, but you can check out the current bands on www.verketfestival.no. Tickets cost between 1100 and 1500 NOK, depending on when you buy them.

26.04.2014 – Skambankt (Roxy, Prag)

April 27th, 2014
26.04.2014 – Photos Skambankt (Roxy, Prag)

Yay! Skambankt in Prague – the first-ever Skambankt concert that I could reach without getting on a plane. Awesome! OK, it meant seven hours of traveling anyway … but it was much cheaper than flying, and it’s so much easier to pack if you don’t have to fill all your liquids in tiny bottles. =;-)

I arrived in Prague in awesome sunny spring weather. I didn’t really make that much use of it though – I’ve been to Prague quite a few times before, so I skipped all the touristy stuff and preferred hanging out with a friend instead. Later, during the concert, Skambankt mentioned that they had been doing a Segway tour during the day. Wait, why did nobody ever tell me that there were Segway tours in Prague? I LOVE those thingies, my friend has never ridden one, and it would have been the perfect way to enjoy the sun. Well, next time then. =;-)

We arrived at the club about half an hour after the doors opened, and half an hour before Skambankt were supposed to start. I had been to the Kaizers show there last year (which was absolutely packed!), and I had of course expected this concert to be different – less people, less interest in the bands, more focus on partying and drinking. I had not, however, expected to walk into a venue that was basically empty! =:-o I mean, there were maybe five people sitting in the front and five more hanging at the bar, and up on the gallery there were two more – which actually turned out to be fellow Germans. =;-) We started kidding that we were probably more Germans at the concert than Czechs. Which was probably true. *g*

Anyway. Skambankt did NOT start at 8 pm as scheduled. Of course not, because there was basically no audience there … When they started half an hour later, it was a bit better. Still far from full, but it looked “okay” both on the floor and up on the gallery. It filled up more and more throughout the concert, and by the end of Skambankt’s show, it was pretty crowded. Not closely as crowded as during the Kaizers concert (which was way too crowded in my opinion), but an okay turn-out. Almost everyone was obviously there to see Karpe Diem though, and they clearly regarded Skambankt as the support band. And as Ted pointed out towards the end of the concert: Skambankt were doing what they always do, and if a concert is better than the one yesterday (uhhh, may I point out that your last concert was a month ago? *g*), this is due to the audience being better than the audience yesterday. Shortly after, Skambankt announced their last song, and the audience started shouting for Karpe Diem. ‘Nuff said … *rolleyes*

Anyway, there were some people that were interested in the concert and went along, so the audience wasn’t totally dead. They were just waiting for the main act … Skambankt absolutely delivered (except that they didn’t have Slukk meg on the setlist, booooh!), and the concert turned out just fine. Small and intimate, no pushing, lots of room to move – just not an absolute highlight. But: easy to get to. *gg*

The wall of death in Me sa nei was quite funny this time. They stopped, ordered the audience to spread out, and started the song again. And: nothing happened. *rofl* So they had to stop, actually EXPLAIN what they wanted the audience to do, and try again. =;-) Not without pointing out that while it might sound scary, there’s no need to worry, because there are lots of doctors around … (Maybe I should add here that the concert was part of a congress/workshop for Norwegian students of, amongst others, medicine … *g*)

It felt like Skambankt had to hurry through their set a little, since they had started so late. Not sure if they actually left out any of their planned songs (didn’t check a printed setlist), but at least it seemed that they were allowed to play all their songs in the end; even though they checked the time after each song. Here’s what they played:

  • Anonyme hatere
  • Skambankt
  • O dessverre
  • Vår bør
  • Som en sirene
  • Me sa nei
  • Mantra
  • Gamle spøkelser
  • Voodoo
  • Dynasti
  • Stormkast #1
  • Malin
  • Min eliksir

There was no break for encores. After Skambankt’s show, it was time for Karpe Diem, and they got a huge reaction. It was really obvious that people were there to see them, not Skambankt, and everybody was singing/rapping along loudly. Hmm … well, whatever. I went up on the gallery at some point during their show, and that was pretty cool, to look down at the crowd (which actually looked bigger from above than from down on the floor).

All in all, a fun concert and a great trip. I do prefer “real” Skambankt concerts … but now it’s time for festivals first, so I guess I’ll have to do with that for the next few months. =;-)

11.03.2014 – SDP (LKA, Stuttgart)

April 13th, 2014
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Kurz vor Weihnachten: Mein Bruder schickt seinen Wunschzettel rum. Eine der gewünschten CDs: “SDP – Die bekannteste unbekannte Band der Welt” – cooler Titel, und so passend … nie von der Band gehört. Aber wofür gibt es Amazon und die Preview-Funktion … und so landete die Platte in meinem Warenkorb, kurz danach unter dem Weihnachtsbaum, und dazwischen in meinem Amazon-Player. (Hö hö … nie war es praktischer, Familienmitglieder mit gutem Musikgeschmack zu haben. Über die Heino-CD für meinen Vater breite ich lieber mal den Mantel des Schweigens … OK, es war die “Mit freundlichen Grüßen”, zur Ehrenrettung. *g*)

Kurz darauf wurde SDP als Headliner fürs Mini-Rock-Festival angekündigt. Yay – normalerweise werde ich dort immer von Bands überrascht, die außer mir jeder zu kennen scheint, von denen ich aber noch nie etwas gehört habe. Nicht so diesmal, denn die Platte lief zu dem Zeitpunkt schon rauf und runter bei mir. Und dann kamen sie auch noch ins LKA – na, dann kann ich doch mal bestens vorbereitet zum Festival erscheinen!

Ich hatte mir keine Karte im Vorverkauf besorgt, da die Woche sowieso schon so vollgestopft war und ich mich spontan entscheiden wollte. Und außerdem: “das LKA kriegen die doch nie voll, kennt doch keiner”. Äh … am Tag des Konzertes las ich dann auf Facebook, dass der Abend vorher ausverkauft war. Ups. Nun ja, no risk no fun, trotzdem mal los zum LKA. Parken sollte ja kein Problem sein, sind ja eh nur Kids da … denkste. War zwar – wie immer am LKA – kein echtes Problem, aber doch deutlich voller als erwartet. Und drinnen war’s auch schon richtig gut gefüllt. Und zwar mit deutlich gemischterem Publikum als erwartet!

Der Vorgruppenmensch heizte an – und ich überlegte die ganze Zeit, warum er mir so bekannt vorkam. (Die Auflösung: Romeo feat. Julia auf KIKA, was auch sonst. *lol*) Und dann war es Zeit für SDP!

Ich hatte vorab einige Bedenken, da ich ja nur das eine Album sowie ein paar wenige Lieder von Spotify gehört hatte – aber völlig grundlos. Die Show war super – immer was zu gucken, super Stimmung, Publikum und Musiker in ständiger Bewegung und mit breitem Grinsen im Gesicht. So muss es sein! Und vermutlich war es sogar von Vorteil, die Platten nicht auswendig zu kennen … Als ich mir nach dem Konzert die neu gekaufte aktuelle Platte anhörte, war ich doch ein wenig verwundert, dass die “Zwischenspiele” live genau wörtlich so wiedergegeben wurden. Es kam gut, keine Frage – hätte ich aber die Platte zuerst gehört, hätte es glaub ich sehr auswendig gelernt gewirkt.

Hab ich aber nicht, und so hatte ich einen Heidenspaß – wie auch die anderen Zuschauer. Auf dem Weg zum Auto rief mir ein andere Konzertbesucher einfach so zu: “War das genial, oder was?!”

Ja, war es. Und ich freu mich auf den Sommer und die Festivals!

22.03.2014 Skambankt (Rockefeller, Oslo)

March 23rd, 2014

Well … just one week since the last concert, but time for another (very) short trip up north to see Skambankt at Rockefeller! OK, I could have watched the live stream as well, but a) I didn’t know that when I booked my flight, b) Oslo is always worth a visit, and c) there are sooo many awesome people in Oslo that no live stream will ever be able to replace going there! =:-D

The “problem” with meeting friends before the concert is that you never get to the venue early – I had planned to check out at least Hold Fast, the second support band, but we arrived when they were almost done. Honestly, I didn’t get the impression that I missed much though … not my music.

When I arrived, I was suprised to still get a good spot in the front; it was rather empty. But it did fill up nicely before Skambankt went on, and it was crowded both on the floor and on both galeries. So it seems the live stream didn’t prevent people from showing up.

Now, the concert … I don’t really have a lot to report about that, to be honest. It was awesome and great fun, just like the others. And I couldn’t really choose a favorite show of those I have seen – Skambankt have been really constant. They deliver the same terrific show every night, and the difference is only the reaction of the audience. Which was pretty good in Oslo; maybe not quite as energetic as in Trondheim, but people loved it. And after the Wall of Death in Me sa nei, there was quite some …. uh, let’s call it “movement” as well. “Dancing” would maybe be the wrong word. *g*

The “Hei” part in Dynasti worked well this time – because the audience didn’t care about what the band had planned. =;-p They just sang the first verse instead of shouting back “hei”. He he … good solution, and pretty awesome.

Quite funny when Ted talked about Sort blod being a song from the new album – and who knows the one before? And the one before? And the one before? I was just waiting for him to trick the audience and ask about one too much, but no … *g* And then he announced that the next song would be from that (oldest) album – and someone from the audience shouted “Skambankt!” … “Uh, no, we have already played that one!” *lol*

They had already played Malin in the main set, so I wondered which song they would use as third encore. And I was quite excited when they started the encores with the Nok et offer intro! *yay* But no … we only got the intro, followed by Mantra, then Min Eliksir, and that was it … That was a little disappointing; I had hoped for a second block of encores, but no, that was it. A great concert though, and we all know that Skambankt don’t play three hours, so that didn’t take anything from the show.

Here’s the full setlist:

  • Anonyme hatere
  • Skambankt
  • O dessverre
  • Vår bør
  • Som en sirene
  • Slukk meg (for eg brenner)
  • Sort blod
  • Me sa nei
  • Dynasti
  • Gamle spøkelser
  • Voodoo
  • Malin
  • Tanker som mareritt
  • Stormkast #1
    —–
  • Mantra
  • Min eliksir

And now I got to wait over a month for the show in Prague! =:-o

15.03.2014 Skambankt (Samfundet, Trondheim)

March 16th, 2014

After my last trip north and two Skambankt concerts that were even more awesome than expected I was really happy I had already booked my flight to the Oslo concert (that’s what happens if KLM unexpectedly puts out some extra cheap flights … *g*) – however, I had the feeling that this would still not suffice and I’d have to take yet another trip to Norway … =;-) Actually, I had set my eyes on Stavanger, but then I ended up going to Trondheim instead, for … reasons. The best part about that: it still leaves the option to go to Stavanger. *uhem*

Anyway. Arriving at Samfundet, I first found out that I was not on the guestlist. Well, nothing new here, that has happened before, and it’s usually not a big deal. This time it was no deal at all, because the answer was: “No, you’re not on the list … but hey, wait, I’ve seen you on TV! I’m sure you should be on the list. Here you go, just go in …” =:-o That felt very weird and very cool at the same time. *g*

I was there in good time for the support band Lydløs. And they sounded pretty good! Punk with Norwegian lyrics. And from what I read, their first concert ever, and for that it was really impressive. Thumbs up!

Also, I was kinda “impressed” with the sound – not that it was particularly good, but it was not particularly BAD. Which is good for Samfundet. =;-) Maybe because I was down on the floor instead of the stands for the first time there?

The Skambankt concert started out theatrically with the intro and the banner rising up. And it was clear from the beginning that this would be an awesome concert – the audience was REALLY into it, and everybody was loud and singing. There were mosh pits, hands and fists in the air, and the audience took over the singing quite a few times. OK, it didn’t always work out perfectly – we messed up the chorus in Mantra, and the “hei”-”hei” part in Dynasti took quite some practicing again (I still think that the audience is NOT to blame for that though; it’s just impossible to understand what Mr. Winters wants the audience to do there *g*). Still, the atmosphere was fantastic. Ted … argh, I think I’ll have to reconsider my style principles, writing “Ted” just feels awkward every time … – where was I? Oh right. Anyway. “Mr. Frontman” summed it up perfectly in the end: “Takk skal dokke faen meg ha!” An amazing concert in front of a fantastic crowd that was really into it. Perfect!

A funny little moment was the ending of Stormkast #1, where the audience was screaming hey, then the band would play, the audience would scream, the band would play … guess some things are just great fun, no matter which band is doing them and who is conducting. =;-)

In Me sa nei, Skambankt did their 2nd ever Wall of Death … Hmm, I know what I think about that. It does look amazing from above, I agree, and it might be great fun for some people to take part … but I guess they’ll soon stop doing it after the first fan hobbles out with a broken ankle. Or tibia. Which is just a matter of time …

Still, it was no problem to stick to the side and enjoy an awesome concert – everybody had a great time, the band went off stage with a “nå blir det fest!”, and everyone went out with big smiles on their faces. Yay, can’t be better! =:-D

The setlist was altered a bit on the spot – the planned list was the usual one they played every time, but they modified it a bit to fit the atmosphere. Here’s what they played:

  • Anonyme hatere
  • Skambankt
  • O dessverre
  • Vår bør
  • Som en sirene
  • Slukk meg (for eg brenner)
  • Sort blod
  • Me sa nei
  • Min eliksir
  • Gamle spøkelser
  • Voodoo
  • Dynasti
  • Tanker som mareritt
  • Stormkast #1
    —–
  • Mantra
  • Malin
  • Våre folk

Addendum: OK, after seeing the video I take back the broken ankle. Wrong scale. I was thinking more about this. But I still think WoDs are stupid. =;-p

01.03.2014 Skambankt (Vinterrock, Øystese)

March 2nd, 2014

Just one flight, a short bus ride to Bergen, two hours walking around town in bright sunshine, and another two-hour bus ride later, it was time for my second concert of the weekend!

Øystese is a small town in the middle of nowhere – middle of very picturesque nowhere, to be precise -, and it had hosted a gigantic Kaizers concert last year. The plan was to repeat that success this year, but then … Skambankt are not Kaizers, and neither are Grand Island (the headliner of the first night of the festival), so that meant that the concert took place in a huge hall in front of a few people. =:-/ You’d think that such a concert is doomed to be rather … slow? boring? awful? Something like that …

The support bands were okay, but nothing I’ll remember in any way. The audience … well, hadn’t arrived yet, was outside smoking, or didn’t really care. Really bad signs for a good concert … but no reason to despair, because as long as the band delivers, you can still have great fun at a concert even if the audience sucks. Or is not there. =;-) But then it’s of course terribly difficult for a band to deliver without feedback from the audience.

I didn’t check how the crowd looked when Skambankt came on. From the front it seemed that there were a few more people than for the other two bands, but it was still very far from crowded. The first three rows were into the concert, the rest … hmm, not sure. However, I felt like the audience was quite loud, when chanting for encores and screaming hey and so on. Maybe I only heard the first three rows, not sure, but still it was great to hear them joining in! Even though it did seem like the majority of the people in attendance were of the “that’s one of the Kaizers guys’ new band, no idea what they do, but let’s go there” kind who had maybe heard Voodoo and Malin but nothing else. Still, better than not going at all!

And the band? Delivered. Wait, I meant DELIVERED! Honestly: The concert, thus what happened on stage, was just as awesome as the one in Copenhagen. The energy was there, the sound was great, and you couldn’t hear or see the apparent Märkbar disaster. *gg* Of course, all in all the Copenhagen concert was much better than this one, but I didn’t regret at all traveling all the way for this show.

The setlist was exactly the same as in Copenhagen. The only noteworthy details I remember (oh come on, who am I fooling – I don’t remember, but I’m smart enough to take notes during the concert *g*) were that we had to count down from 28 (!!) in Me sa nei this time, which took quite a while … but funnily, that worked out great and seemed to involve the audience. It got so much louder towards the end, and it got people engaged. Also, we got a bit of an explanation this time in Dynasti: “First I say hei and then you say hei – that’s just politeness!” And when it worked and Ted applauded us, the audience started clapping along very fast which didn’t fit at all. *lol* Did I say the audience was a bit weird? =;-) But willing to join in, and that was great.

And I just gotta say how much I love it when I’m going to a concert alone, without having arranged anything before, and find great company all around for the whole night. And morning. *uhem* Thanks guys, it was a pleasure, and … guess I should check the flight prices for Stavanger … =;-)

Addendum: Gosh, how could I forget mentioning the nice birthday wishes from stage? Thank you! And obviously the common way to congratulate someone on their birthday in Øystese is fistbumping. =;-) OK, honestly I prefer that over hugging if the person congratulating is drunk and I’ve never seen them before. *gg*

28.02.2014 Skambankt (Pumpehuset, Copenhagen)

March 1st, 2014

It’s been four long years since my last Skambankt concert – way too long! Still, I didn’t really know what to expect. I really like the new album and didn’t doubt that the songs would work great live – but then, would it still be as much fun as four years ago? I mean … I’m four years older, they are four years older, and young bands like Honningbarna took over the genre … =;-)

Still, I decided for a birthday trip up north. One concert in Copenhagen, one in Øystese. Crazy, I know, but also great fun! So, first stop Copenhagen, meeting up with amazing friends, a quick dinner and then on to the concert. Missed the support band, but arrived just in time for Skambankt!

The concert had been moved to a bigger stage – a very good decision, because that one was a “real” stage and not some pedestal in the corner. And it was crowded enough that it didn’t look empty, though everyone had plenty of room to dance. Perfect!

When Skambankt started with Anonyme hatere, the audience remained rather quiet. Warming up, on both sides, I guess … And also throughout the concert, the new songs were received well, but they didn’t really get the audience excited. It was all the old songs that did that! And there were plenty of them. A really good and varied setlist, even though I missed Alarm …

Not sure if it was true that the album only came out in Denmark last Monday, as Ted claimed. That would explain the “quietness” during the new songs. Still, that wasn’t really a problem, the audience was hot and wild anyway. And they knew the old songs and went crazy for all of them.

The first highlight was of course O dessverre – or actually O desværre, as they brought in Johan Olsen as guest singer. No idea if they did that at the other shows in Denmark as well (probably not), but it was a nice surprise!

And on they went with old and new, the audience got more and more into it, and by the time they played Dynasti, everyone was screaming and shouting. So instead of starting the second verse, Ted just shouted “Hei” – which seemed to me like we were supposed to sing now, but hey … it’s been four years, _I_ certainly don’t remember the lyrics! *gg* But actually, he just wanted us the scream “Hei” back at him, which worked out great after practicing it for only … five minutes or so. =;-) And then it was so awesome that he didn’t want to stop: “Just one last time! … Or, once more! … Just one more time! … Last one now!” *gg*

They went off after Stormkast #1, of course to come back for encores. We got to choose – well, more or less. The audience of course wanted all the songs, but we only got three more, pff. *g* Interrupted by a short “Oh, Bones got problems with his bass drum, we’ll have to pass the time … any questions?” (Wonder where he got that from … *lol*) But then everything worked again and we didn’t even get to ask a single question. =;-)

And that was it! I thought it was awesome; way better than expected, and at least as great as I remember from four years ago. And with almost one and a half hours well worth traveling up north. But now I want more more MORE …! =:-D

The setlist:

  • Anonyme hatere
  • Skambankt
  • O dessverre
  • Vår bør
  • Som en sirene
  • Slukk meg (for eg brenner)
  • Sort blod
  • Me sa nei
  • Gamle spøkelser
  • Våre folk
  • Voodoo
  • Dynasti
  • Tanker som mareritt
  • Stormkast #1
    ————-
  • Mantra
  • Malin
  • Min eliksir

Addendum: Oh, I just realized I forgot to mention the nipple licking incident. *rofl*
NO, calm down, no slash fiction coming up … =;-) But one couple in the front was really having fun throughout the concert, with quite a few “oh gosh, am I really seeing that” moments, both for us right behind them and probably also for the guys on stage. *g*

Concert summary 2013

December 28th, 2013

2013 is almost over – time for the annual look back at the concerts of the year!

Let’s start with the numbers: 55 concerts in total, seven of these were summer festivals. There weren’t really a lot of bands I saw more than once or twice … only Itchy Poopzkid with two concerts and two festivals, I think, and die Ärzte with one concert and two festivals. Oh, and of course this weird Norwegian band that I saw a couple of times this year. =;-)

29 of these concerts were in Germany, the other 26 abroad. Which is a rather strange ratio, I know, but well, I’m a concert junkie. =;-) In addition to the concerts, I attended three WWE events, one musical, one ballet, and one TV award show.

The smallest concert of all was the Honningbarna concert in Stuttgart: There were ten, maybe fifteen people in the audience. It was great fun, even though I was a bit jetlagged and couldn’t enjoy it as much as I would have a week later. The biggest concert … hmm, not quite sure. Probably Rock’n’Heim festival or the Ärzte concert in Bietigheim-Bissingen. I guess both had an audience of about 20.000.

Die Ärzte … well, no, I guess it’s over. I tried to give them another chance in Bietigheim-Bissingen, but it just was no fun. If you’re at a concert and think that you could just as well be back home on your couch with a good book – there’s no need to be there. And I had a very similar feeling when they played at Taubertal festival and Rock’n’Heim a month later.

The festivals: Interestingly, the festivals that I enjoyed most were Trollrock in Norway and Rock’n’Heim. The first one was tiny but awesome – only a few bands every day, so no “overkill”, and great music, nice people, and good weather. The latter … well, I had expected to HATE it there. Big, new (and therefore unorganized), expensive, my last festival of the year. But I wasn’t “working” at the festival, thus not writing any report or taking photos, so I could just do whatever I wanted, and I really enjoyed it. Plus, it was far from sold out, which means the area wasn’t too crowded. So thumbs up!

Biggest band surprise? Hmm, hard to decide. I LOVED the concerts/festivals with Itchy Poopzkid and Madsen. A perfect mixture and two great bands on stage! Also, I greatly enjoyed the Fozzy concerts I got to see, and I’m looking forward to their next European tour. Beware, I’m coming after you! =;-) And my new discovery of the year is clearly Hoffmaestro – I saw them at some festivals and turned into a fan right away. Their album is just as awesome. The sad part is that they canceled their tour in fall, so I hope I can catch them next year!

And finally, there was … Kaizers Orchestra. 28 concerts this year – three at the opera in Oslo, one in London, one in New York, and finally seven in a row in Stavanger. If I want to list the “traditional” geographical statistics, it’s Kaizers only. Northern-most concert: Kaizers in Trondheim. Eastern-most concert: Kaizers in Vienna. Southern-most concert: Kaizers in Zurich. Western-most concert: Kaizers in New York City.

Yes – New York City. And London. Both in one year – within one month, actually. It’s crazy, but it was soooo worth it. The London trip: an awesome week together with great friends, and not only Kaizers, but also WWE and Fozzy. I can’t even pick the highlight of the week – Kaizers were just one of many highlights. New York City had been on my list of cities to visit for a long time. Still, when the concert was announced, I knew I wouldn’t go there. And at the same time I knew I would … and I did. And just like London, it was a great vacation, and the Kaizers concert (and afterparty) were just … surreal. But an experience that I will never forget. And NYC itself would have been worth the trip even without the concert, so it wasn’t fully crazy. =;-)

Not all Kaizers concerts were amazing this year – I’ve seen them soooo often by now that I know them way too well. What might seem like a great concert to most can be a bit disappointing for me, as I notice if they could do more but just don’t care, like for example at my ten-year anniversary at Ravnefesten in Kristiansand. It was still a great concert, just not as good as it could have been. Still, there’s no concert that I would have wanted to miss. So many memories, so much joy, so much fun. Thank you, Kaizers!

The last week of concerts in Stavanger was a rollercoaster ride – both emotionally and concerning the “work load” (not only caused by Kaizers of course, as I was also doing “real” work remotely, but there was quite some work related to Kaizers). It was a terrific finale though – of course! Followed and finalized by meeting Janove at the airport in Amsterdam the day after the final show … time to really say goodbye.

Or so I thought … Just last month, I went to Norway again to hand out the award for the best live band of the year to the best live band of the year! Another surreal experience, and a great honor.

So this concludes the Kaizers era now. There will surely be less concerts for me next year, and fewer trips to Norway. Skambankt will take over a bit – my first trip to Norway is booked and scheduled already – but I doubt I’ll go there as often as for Kaizers. But we’ll see …

Apart from Skambankt, I’m looking forward to a Fozzy tour, some great concerts with Thees Uhlmann, Wirtz, Hoffmaestro, and of course some nice summer festivals. Taubertal, Mini Rock, maybe Trollrock again – it’s gonna be a fun year, but it will not be as much and as rushed as this year. Which is good, even for a concert junkie like me. =;-)

14.09.2013 Kaizers Orchestra (DNB-Arena, Stavanger)

September 14th, 2013

September 14th, the very last “Siste Dans” concert in Stavanger – my 172nd concert and the only one without a real concert report. But a report really isn’t necessary, as the concert is/was streamed live on the internet. And I want to just enjoy the concert without having to take notes and think about what is worth mentioning in the report. However, I’ll append the setlist below after the concert of course – at least if someone writes it down. =;-)

There’s no doubt at all that the last concert will be terrific. Just like we know for sure that in the end, we’ll all be crying our eyes out, arm in arm. And that’s how it must be. You should quit while you’re ahead – even if it hurts.

Thank you so much, dear Kaizers, for ten years filled with fabulous music, awesome concerts and lots of experiences, adventures, and friendships that were all due to you guys. Thanks to everyone who was part of it and who I got to know; no matter if just very briefly here and there at a concert or by mail or again and again for years. Thank you for the amazing friendships that came about – they will persist, for sure!

I wrote down my conclusion and thank you in Stavanger Aftenblad already. I’ll try to translate the article as well within the next weeks. But first, it’s time for the last one.

We knew it right from the beginning: “Some day all of this will be over …” Of course I’d hope that this day was still in the far future. But it’s not. So we’ll cry together tonight and say good bye, before we start looking forward to the new projects that are coming. And – even though it might be years away – to a reunion concert.

We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when – but I know we’ll meet again some sunny day!

Thanks to Greg for the setlist!

1. Aldri Vodka Violeta
2. Siste Dans
3. Bøn Fra Helvete
4. Tusen Dråper Regn
5. En For Orgelet, En For Meg
6. Diamant Til Kull
7. Støv og Sand
8. I ett Med Verden
9. Tokyo Ice Til Clementine
10. Kontroll På Kontinentet
11. Evig Pint
12. KGB
13. Dr. Mowinckel
14. Bris
15. Bak et Hallelujah
16. Salt og Pepper
17. Drøm Videre, Violeta
18. Forloveren
19. Mr. Kaizer (Hans Constanze og Meg)
20. Svarte Katter og Flosshatter
21. Dieter Meyers Inst.
22. Hjerteknuser

23. Begravelsespolka
24. Resistansen
25. 170

26. Maestro
27. Die Polizei
28. Ompa Til Du Dør