Time for the last Kaizers Orchestra concert of the summer! It took place at Verket festival, a new festival, arranged for the first time, in Mo i Rana in Norway. When I checked the line-up, it wasn’t hard to decide that this was a good festival to go to: Kaizers Orchestra, Katzenjammer, The September When, CC Cowboys, Alexander Rybak, and some more. OK, Mo i Rana isn’t really the most practical place to go to for me, I admit that – but then, it was plain out crazy to travel up to the arctic circle just for a festival. And crazy is good, so I was on my way…
Eight hours and three flights later I was in Bodø, where I met up with a friend and got into the car to drive three and a half hours south to Mo i Rana. On a very tight schedule – we wanted to catch Katzenjammer, who played way too early, namely about three and a half hours after I landed in Bodø… That didn’t leave us much time. On the drive, I got my first glimpse of Nordlandet (ok, I’ve been up north before, but still, it was impressive!), crossed the arctic circle (from north to south, duh…), and learned new words like “råkjøre”. Uhem. But hey, we made it just in time!
We arrived at the festival about ten minutes before Katzenjammer were supposed to start, and as they were a few minutes late, we had enough time to get in and look around a bit. Perfect! And even though it was raining quite badly at that time and the ground was wet and muddy already, I liked the festival area. Lots of space, clearly arranged, and a perfect slope down towards the stage where you could see very well. And as a background, high above the stage, some factory buildings of the industry park, which gave the festival its name.
The only thing missing was: people. This was really bad during the Katzenjammer concert – it looked like there was hardly anyone there! A few people scattered in front of the stage, but that was it, and I already had the feeling that this might be the first and last time the festival took place…
But then, it was pouring, and it was early the first day. It turned out that this really was nothing to worry about! By the evening, the area was crowded, and even more so the next day. Probably not sold out, but lots of people that were clearly enjoying themselves. And the area could take that amount of people, so you didn’t feel like it was so crowded that you couldn’t move, or that you would have to stand in line forever to get a drink. Perfect! And all in all, the festival was very well organized. I never had to wait in line anywhere, and even though the voluntary helpers couldn’t answer all questions, everybody was very friendly and helpful. And I had the feeling that especially the securities knew exactly what they were doing, and this is something that is a) very important and b) not that common, especially at Norwegian festivals. But yeah, that’s the way it’s gotta be, so two thumbs up for Verket!
But back to the concerts. Katzenjammer started about 10 minutes late, and this was actually the case throughout the festival – all bands started a bit late. But it wasn’t too bad, so no reason to complain. And well, there’s not much I can write about Katzenjammer: Go and see them NOW! This band is just amazing, and everybody in the (way too small…) audience was enjoying themselves. Great! You hardly noticed the rain, at least not until the concert stopped and you suddenly noticed that you were soaked wet and started to get cold as soon as you stopped dancing…
So we left the festival for a bit – even though we noticed that there were actually TWO stages, the big main stage and a very small one that was obviously only used in the afternoon for the unknown bands. The one that played right after Katzenjammer, Diskotek, sounded very good, but we had to leave to check in at our hotel and get something to eat. Oh, and to dry up a bit…
Luckily, the rain had mostly stopped when we returned to the festival in the evening. It took us quite a while to walk out there from the town – it would have been a good idea to mark it a bit clearer on the website where the festival would actually take place and where the entry was, that would have made it easier for non-locals to find an accommodation close to the festival. Not everybody knows where Revelneset is… But with a bit of asking and walking in the wrong direction a few times, we made it back to the festival in time to catch a few songs of Marit Larsen‘s concert.
I have to admit that I didn’t know her at all, even though I’m German… But I liked what I heared! It’s not really my kind of music, but it was performed perfectly, and it was an impressive concert. After that, it was time for CC Cowboys. I only knew that they were supposed to be great live – apart from that, I had never heard anything from them. So I didn’t know a single song. Oh, and I didn’t know how they looked, otherwise I would have known right away who was that band that was on my plane from Oslo. 😉 It was a bit sad that I didn’t know any of the songs – but I promise, next time I am in Norway (and in a town with a record store), I’ll get a CD. That was a great concert! I liked the music a lot, there was something to see, and the people in the audience were having fun. Just the way it’s gotta be!
The last band of the night was Paperboys, and as I’m not into hip hop at all and we both were terribly tired, we went home after thirty minutes or so. Especially as it seemed like Paperboys were still playing their first song. 😉
We spent the next day relaxing and checking out Mo i Rana – a much bigger place than we thought, but still pretty small. But nice, no question about it! Then I wanted to go back to the festival to see Alexander Rybak. Not really my music either, but one of the few Norwegians that are actually known in Germany, so you can’t miss out on him! My friend warned my that there would probably be lots of “small kids” there – well, okay, what are you gonna expect if you have a young cute man who got famous through the Grand Prix? Of course there would be lots of teenagers in the front, screaming their lungs out!
Uhm. When we arrived at the festival, I understood what she had meant with “small kids”. Namely: small kids! Six-year-olds, maybe up to ten years, and okay, there were a few teenagers as well. But mostly <10... And yes, I totally agree that he deserves "better" - not that there was anything bad about playing for kids, but his music is really good and would appeal to an older audience as well. So maybe he should have been placed twice in the program, once in the afternoon and once in the evening, and not only in the kids' part... a bit sad. After this concert, everybody was sent out of the festival area. Until then, there was no age limit, but for the evening concerts, only people older than 18 were allowed. And of course, the only way to do that was to send everybody out. But there were two problems with that: First, Alexander Rybak did a signing session just inside of the entrance, so it was almost impossible to get out – and understandably, a lot of kids didn’t WANT to go out before they got their autograph. And second, once everybody was kicked out, they went home…
So the result was that when Hjaltalin played, nobody was there… They started much later than planned, but in the beginning, there were maybe three, four people in front of the stage. Including us two… It got a bit better then, but it was still ridiculous. Really sad. The concert was nice, but I have to admit that I liked them much better at Slottsfjell where they also played a few songs in Icelandic. And that’s much more interesting than English. Plus, it was freezing cold, so we went back to the hotel afterwards to warm up.
After we got something to eat and dressed up WARM, we were on the way back to Verket. Now it was time for the highlight: Kaizers Orchestra, of course! We had decided that we wanted to be in the front, and so we had to be there early. We arrived just when Jarle Bernhoft was playing his last song. The next band up was Ghost:Dog, and we just had time to grab some drinks and find a nice spot in the second row, with the hope of making it to the first. When I started out to take a picture of the stage, I noticed that I had forgotten my memory card in the camera back at the hotel… so that’s why there’s no pictures of the bands that played Saturday night. Sorry for that, my bad.
But then it was time for Ghost:Dog! I never heard of them, I had no clue what to expect, but it was a very nice concert! I was a bit distracted by watching the first row, though, but hey, you have to be prepared! *g* And yep, right after Ghost:Dog went off, we made it to the front. Yippieh! Time for another round of drinks, and then we were waiting for The September When.
I had seen them at Slottsfjell as well, but I hardly remembered any songs. That’s a bad sign… so no, I didn’t really like them. It was an okay concert, no question about it – and in the middle of the show, they introduced a “guest singer” on stage: Janove Ottesen! That was pretty cool of course, and he sang most of the song. But the song still was rather boring… Well, just not my kind of music, I guess.
And then it was time for the BIG THING! Kaizers Orchestra came on, they delivered a great show, they brought out Morten Abel as guest, and it was really really crowded and “pushy” in the front. But it was great fun! You can read all about it here.
Yep, and that was it! Suddenly, Verket was over… way too soon, there could have been a third day… All in all, it was really a great festival, especially if you consider that it took place for the first time. The organization was great, the area was great, and the weather was… way too cold. But well, that’s Northern Norway in September, not much of a surprise.
The next day we spent traveling back to Bodø and stopping everywhere along the road. And everything was closed… 🙁 At least the way to Svartisen, a glacier, and the grottos. So please, next time, have Verket a week earlier (everything closed on August 31st… *sigh*), so that people traveling to the area get to see something as well!
But still, we had a great trip back to Bodø. We crossed the arctic circle again, this time in the “right” direction. Of course, I had to balance on the arctic circle, and I learned that its purpose is actually to hold the northern lights in so that they don’t get to the south, and that north of the arctic circle, rainbows appear upside-down. And a few more useful things as well. *g* We even managed to go by Saltstraumen and were impressed – guess we accidentally caught just the right time where it was strongest.
So all in all, a fantastic weekend! Thanks to Lena for the great company, see you next time! 😀
An my Konzertjunkie festival rating ;): Verket is a great festival, well-organized and obviously with a good hand for booking the right bands. Currently it seems like a fairly local festival though. There were almost only Norwegian bands in the line-up (something that I personally like a lot, so I don’t think this should be changed), so maybe it is aimed at locals only. And as it seems to work – why not? To draw people from abroad, there would have to be better ways to get to Mo i Rana (but well, there’s not so much you can do there, I guess ;)), and it would need to be a bit earlier in the year. That way, it might attract some tourists. But I assume that the festival is aimed at a local audience, and this is perfectly fine. It is a great festival, and I hope it will exist for a while!
Tags: Alexander Rybak, CC Cowboys, Ghost:Dog, Hjaltalin, Kaizers Orchestra, Katzenjammer, Mo i Rana, Paperboys, Review, The September When, Verket