Not to make anyone jealous, but living in Oslo has its advantages. For example when people tell you about unannounced concerts where you should just drop by. Well, why not, I thought, found myself a Canadian concert partner for the evening and went to what I thought would be a short Skambankt concert on somebody’s birthday.
The party was being held in a place called ‘Kampen Bistro’ which is, as the name says, mainly a restaurant, on this evening filled with a lot of well-dressed party people eating dinner. We were slightly intimidated by this, but luckily a closer look revealed a little concert hall with a huge pop-art Turbonegro picture on the wall and a more familiar rock ‘n roll-crowd drinking beer. And that wasn’t all. One look at the little stage gave the impression that this would not be a Skambankt concert at all – that pump organ, Martin Luther picture and oil barrels looked vaguely familiar. It soon turned out to be the 30th birthday of Mink Kaizer, acting as the master of ceremonies himself. Well, some people like to work on their birthday… 🙂
But first, we got a completely amazing jazz gig by five stylish guys who call themselves the Christianssand String Swing Ensemble. From the very first note, this band changed the room into a sweaty jazzclub in the Chicago of the thirties. You can’t fake being that good, according to my friend Corey, who afterwards informed the guitarist of the band that he would happily have died on the spot there. I’m quite glad he didn’t, because right after this we got introduced to Micke from Sweden, a more authentic and, well, Swedish version of Tom Waits, who is supporting Kaizers Orchestra on their current European tour. Apart from being a musician, Micke informed us that he is also a trained psychologist, so if any of the Kaizers had any mental problems that would be taken care of. After that, the predecessing spiritual guru Geoff Berner climbed upon the stage for an impromptu version of his theme song ‘Whiskey Rabbi’ and confessed that he always had been a bit scared by the fanatic Kaizer crowd. Yes Geoff, we do bite.
Then finally it was time for the masters of the evening, Kaizers Orchestra. Slightly underdressed and with a half litre of beer in his hand instead of a wine-bottle, the Jackal prsented the bands birthday gift to its drummer: no less than a sculpture of The King himself, who got a special position in the front row. After that, we got a trip down to 2003, with Jon ‘Lion King’ Sjøen on the stand-up bass and the old (but in my opinion still best) opening sequence of ‘Ompa til du dør’ followed directly by ‘Bøn fra helvete’. Elvis had to be evacuated to save him from the violent oildrum-abusing of Mr. Omen Kaizer and various colleagues. It was quite hard to choose where to look – to this absolutely amazing, ass-tight band on stage or to the left, where Kaizer-virgin Corey was standing with his jaw wide open. Øyvind Storesund took over the bass for a pulsating and hard version of ‘KGB’. After the Jackal joked that normally, they would ask the crowd if they wanted to dance now, but in this case that wouldn’t be necessary because everybody would obviously just stand there and sip champagne, they launched into ‘Mann mot mann’. Micke from Sweden was the first to hit the dance floor, and many followed and kept dancing during a violently swinging ‘Di Grind’. ‘Maestro’ marked the end of this short, but incredibly tight and energetic set. This was the first time for me to see Kaizers without the whole game with the audience they usually play, without any lifting hands or shouting Halleluja, and I have to say that although this is clearly an important part of the Kaizer live show, it sometimes makes you overlook the fact that this is actually a damn good band. And more than ever it was visible why this is so: not only because of certain musical qualities, but also because here you have six people who love to play together – there was a lot of shoulder-slapping and big grins going on up there. ‘Tusen takk’ to Tor who told me and Susi about this whole event, and no less to Corey beacuse at this kind of evenings, you definately need a fellow music nerd to dance & drink beer with. 🙂
All in all, en jævla fett kveld!