Verket Festival in Mo i Rana – a small town just a few miles south of the Arctic Circle – took place for the sixth time this year. In 2009, I attended the first ever Verket Festival, which was a great experience. Since then, the festival grew from year to year, both in attendance and in the quality of the line up. Time for me to check it out again and find out what has changed!
My first impression was that not much has changed – the festival grounds were still pretty much the same, except that the second stage has become much bigger, and the artists that play there as well! Also, the festival was sold out this year, which means that the area was more crowded, and access to the bars, toilets, and especially food stands required some queuing. But as long as you didn’t want to get a bite to eat just after the co-head on the main stage was finished, the waiting time was fully acceptable. And all in all, I didn’t feel like it was too crowded; most people were staying on the hill in the back, enjoying the view from there, so that there was lots of space in the area in front of the stages.
As I noted in 2009 already, the arrangement of the festival grounds is pretty much perfect: the area is sloping down toward the two stages, so that you can sit or stand up on the hill and see everything. You might not even have to move between the two stages; just turn around a bit! The concession stands are located up on the hill, close to the entry and a bit away from the stages (except for one bar to the side, right between the two stages). The only disadvantage this might cause is that lots of people just remain up by the stands throughout the whole evening, while there’s just a few spectators down by the stages. But then, if people aren’t interested in the music, they might as well just stand in the very back. 😉
Still, in my opinion, the most important part of a festival is the music! And the line-up this year was just perfect; lots of well-known Norwegian artists, all in one place. The “big names” for me were Morten Harket and Seigmen on Friday and Bernhoft and Skambankt on Saturday, but also Silya, Veronica Maggio, Satyricon, and Åge & Sambandet were clearly drawing people to the festival. Verket really managed to book a wide variety of artists – and as the festival was sold out, they obviously got something for everybody!
Friday, August 29
The first festival day held quite a few surprises for me. I had heard most of the names on the line up before, but I hadn’t seen any of them live yet. And it turned out that I was positively surprised by almost all of them!
Morten Harket as first artist of the night was probably the one that held the least surprises for me. He delivered a very professional and captivating concert – just as I had expected. The sound was terrific, and both music and singing were perfect. Plus, he knows how to play to an audience! I was surprised that he was booked as the first artist of the festival; but in hindsight, that was a pretty smart move to get people to come out to the festival early. It worked; the festival grounds were already filled when Morten Harket came out. However, what surprised me was that most people were hanging out in the back and didn’t really care about the concert. When asked to clap along, only very few people in the front joined in, everybody else just ignored it … Still, a really nice opening concert.
Next up were Hjerteslag on the smaller stage. I hadn’t heard of them, but the host Asbjørn Slettemark introduced them as the “new big thing”, who played a fantastic gig at by:Larm (for the few who were lucky enough to get in). And: true! That was pretty awesome. Melodic punk (or punky pop?) with Norwegian lyrics, songs that were easy to pick up, and quite some energy on stage. I had the feeling that they still need to work a bit on their live show though; it got better and better throughout the concert, but it didn’t feel quite natural yet, and they didn’t seem too comfortable on stage. This of course is a big drawback. But the music and the songs were great, so Hjerteslag is definitely a band to remember!
The next big surprise awaited me on the main stage right afterwards. I’ve been living in Norway for only a month, so I had no idea who Silya is … “Stjernekamp” sounds a lot like Star Search or Idol to me, so I expected some nice and pretty pop star. Silya, however, came out to a huge production with full band including a brass section, all in costume, and delivered a full show, not just a concert. Her songs were cover songs presented in her own style and fashion, and of course, she managed to capture the audience right away. For me personally, it all seemed like a big show and not so much like a whole-hearted performance, but it was definitely entertaining, and much more fun than what I had expected. And the audience seemed to really wake up for the first time that night; which of course is understandable when everybody knows all the songs.
Deathcrush were the next band on the second stage, and they didn’t really get the attention they would have deserved. Two girls on guitar and bass, one drummer, all singing – or rather screaming? Lots of energy on stage, and definitely the “punkiest” band of the night. But people were more busy drinking and talking, and hardly anybody gathered in front of the small stage, which was quite a pity.
I had expected it to get much more crowded in front of the stage for the Seigmen concert, but actually it didn’t fill up much more than for the other concerts; except for the first few rows of course. Still, Seigmen delivered a fantastic show! I’ve known them for quite a while, but never managed to see them live, so they managed to surprise me completely. Judging by their music, I had expected them to be really distant, hardly talk to the audience, and play their songs without much interaction, captivating the audience by their presence alone. However, they were quite talkative on stage, not offish at all, but really nice guys. They kept pointing out how nice the festival was, and how sorry they are they haven’t been up in Mo i Rana for so long. Of course the old hits were the ones that the audience was waiting for, and the atmosphere was awesome, but Seigmen also played some new stuff. And while – again – there were less people actually interested in the concert than I had expected, those that were following along with what was happening on stage were really entertained, and for me, the concert was definitely the best one of the night!
I’m not quite sure why Seigmen were not the headliner of the evening – for me, they definitely were! So the two remaining bands, Team Me on the small stage and Veronica Maggio had a rather hard time really capturing my attention. Both surprised me – Team Me played a really energetic rock show and Veronica Maggio’s concert was so much more varied than I had expected. And I think that I would have loved both their concerts if they had taken place earlier in the night; but by that time, it had turned quite cold and 99% of the audience were completely drunk, so that made it hard to really get into the concerts. A pity, but still a big thumbs up for great shows!
For me, the only drawback of the first festival day was the crowd. I had the feeling that hardly anybody was there for the music – which is common at Norwegian festivals. But if the line up is so amazing as at Verket, you should at least try to check out some of the concerts?! But no, either people were keeping all to the back without cheering, clapping, or even listening to what was going on at all, or they were completely drunk already at 5:30 pm and couldn’t manage to stand upright, let alone walk without bumping into someone. I’ve seen quite a few Norwegian festivals, but this seemed worse than usual. They don’t even know what great concerts they missed …
Saturday, August 30: Underverket
The Saturday started with a special concert for those under 18: Underverket. In bright sunshine, families picnicked out on the hill, while their teenage daughters gathered in front of the stage to see Isac Elliot, a teeny star from Finland. Verket festival had announced beforehand that no queuing would be allowed before 8 a.m. (!) – that gives an impression of how crazy the kids were for that concert!
And yes, crazy is probably the right word for it; but in a positive way! I almost gave up on the idea to get to the front to take some photos – it was just impossible to get through, so many kids were crowded in in front of the stage. And everyone was really excited, singing along every single word. The securities were busy throughout the whole concert, but they knew their job and kept everyone safe. The only crying was obviously caused by the guy on stage. 😉
So, adults – I don’t expect the same maniac behavior, but maybe a bit of excitement and enthusiasm for the artists wouldn’t hurt. The kids really made this concert special, and I’m sure they won’t forget it any time soon!
Saturday, August 30
The main festival day started a few hours later, still in bright sunshine. The festival weather really couldn’t have been much better! While it was still a bit cloudy the first day, we got blue skies and sun until it got dark on Saturday. Both days it got quite chilly at night, but that was to be expected so far north. And no rain, yay!
I missed the opener AWAY and arrived during Ane Brun‘s concert. She delivered a nice and calm opening concert – nice and relaxing, but maybe a bit too slow to really capture the audience. Again, the festival filled up nicely already, even though it was still early in the evening, but people were gathering in the back and enjoying the sun on the hill.
All in all, it looked like the audience was a bit older than on Friday. Just like the day before, the line up offered a lot of variation, but Åge & Sambandet obviously attracted people of all ages, which gave a nice mixture. And unlike on Friday, the audience seemed a bit more interested in the music. Still far from enthusiastic (except for the headliner 😉 ), but at least listening and applauding.
Next up was Kaveh, a rapper from Oslo, on the smaller stage. His target audience was clearly the younger generation, which had gathered in front of the stage. Unlike usually, Kaveh had to perform all alone, because his DJ had missed his flight. That’s the problem with festivals so far out; there’s no “next flight” that would still get you there in time. 😉 Still, he managed just fine, and after a few songs and what looked like quite hard work to get the audience excited, he managed to get them to go along. Only the first couple of rows, but those were really into the concert then, and it was fun to see how they loved the show. And when in the end, Kaveh asked some people to get up on the stage with him, he had obviously won. Hard work, but a great show!
I’ve seen Jarle Bernhoft quite a few times, mostly as “one man band” as support for Kaizers Orchestra, but also with his festival show with a full band. I enjoyed the single shows much more, so I was really pleased when I saw that this festival show would be only Bernhoft, alone with all his machines. His songs are really captivating, and seeing him piece them together by recording sounds and loops, one after the other, until he “simulates” a full band is just awesome. And it seemed like the audience was really appreciating this! It got quite crowded in the front, and people were dancing and singing along. It was a bit of a pity though that he didn’t use his full time slot but stopped 20 minutes early.
Montée had a really hard time following that on the small stage – especially since they were still in the middle of their soundcheck when Bernhoft was done and thus couldn’t continue right away. Still, when they started, there were quite a few people in front of the stage. My first impression was that their music, danceable rock, and the songs were really nice and catchy, but that nothing was happening on stage – which is always a bit of a problem, especially for bands that are not widely known and don’t have huge hits. And just as feared: People stayed for the first two, three songs and then started wandering off in search for food, drinks, and toilets. Where there were huge queues at that time … and Montée played for hardly anyone.
That’s a problem that Skambankt did not have; people were back in place in front of the main stage when Skambankt came on. They delivered a really good rock show – read my full report about their concert on skambankt.konzertjunkie.com – but it was obvious that everyone except for the first couple of rows in the front was waiting for Åge. They did clap a bit, but that was about it. They didn’t seem to understand what a Wall of Death was supposed to be, they didn’t sing along (not even “ohohoh” parts), and they didn’t really get excited. However, full props to Skambankt for delivering a really energetic show anyway!
Skambankt were followed by another great live band on the small stage: Satyricon. However, like Skambankt, their target audience did not necessarily comply with Åge’s target audience … They did gather quite a crowd and everyone in front of the stage was really enthusiastic and into the show. They were held back a bit by the securities whenever the moshing got too wild; something that did not sit well with the band. So they allowed the audience to do whatever they wanted and ignore the guys with the flashlights. 😉 And when the singer mentioned that his dad had actually worked at “Verket” – the factory above the festival area – and that he’s here now to work at Verket as well (just in a slightly different manner), he had finally won over the audience! At least the small faction of the audience that was into the concert at the small stage and not just waiting for Åge … Everyone else got more and more annoyed as Satyricon continued their concert. And continued their concert. And continued, and continued, way past their allowed time slot. The stage managers were very clear in their messages to the band – but they did not cut the electricity. So Satyricon continued 17 minutes past Åge’s start time, and while they were still on stage waving their good-byes, the announcer already called the audience to the big stage.
The atmosphere during the concert of Åge & Sambandet was then really really special. A HUGE crowd in the front (it did actually look a bit like Underverket! 😮 ), a very mixed audience of all ages, and everyone excited and singing along every word. Add to that a well attuned band on stage that does not only stare at their shoes but delivers a show as well, and songs that everyone in the audience knows. That’s the kind of atmosphere that I was waiting for the whole festival!
But then, the part that “everyone in the audience” knew the songs was not quite true, because there was one girl from Germany that did not know any of the songs, was cold, and had a train to catch at seven in the morning, so she decided to skip the second hour of Åge’s show and get on her way back to the hotel … and thus she missed it when Åge & Sambandet turned into Åge & Skambandet and Skambankt came up on stage to play in one of the songs. *argh* Sounds like an awesome mixture, and a great way to end the festival – and since Verket is one of the last Norwegian festivals, also the festival season for most bands!
All in all, Verket was a really great festival with an amazing line up of bands and some really good and entertaining concerts. I noticed a few good bands that I will check out further and keep track of what they are doing – mostly Hjerteslag, but also Deathcrush, Kaveh, and Montée. The festival itself is organized very well; you’ll always have some queues, and if you got your food, drink, or toilet break at the right time, you hardly had to wait at all. At other times, it was really bad though, but that’s impossible to prevent. The area is perfect for a festival of this size, and it’s just a fifteen minute walk away from the center of the town.
The festival is clearly aimed at locals, as Mo i Rana is quite difficult to get to. That makes it really impressive to see that the festival was actually sold out! That means that the locals are coming and supporting the festival! While this itself is a really good thing, I got the impression of “bygdefest” quite often – and that was a pity considering the awesome line up and the quality of the bands playing there. If everyone is there to see just one band and get drunk otherwise, it would maybe be sufficient to hire just that one band and not frustrate any other bands that hardly anybody cares about … But who knows. Maybe I’m mistaken and some people in the audience did actually discover new, interesting music. Because in my opinion, THIS is the main purpose of a festival, and getting wasted is just a fun side effect. 😉
Kaizers Orchestra were playing in Stavern, on the weekend when I was in Norway anyway – a great opportunity to check out Stavernfestivalen! I had planned to go there a couple of years ago when Kaizers played there the last time, but in the end, it hadn’t worked out. This time, I planned ahead and made it happen – just for one day, but better than nothing, right?
I gotta admit though that Stavernfestivalen had a bit of a disadvantage. I came there right from Odderøya Live, a festival that was so well organized that it just basically blew my mind. Now, arriving at Stavernfestivalen, not really being sure which bus stop to get off and in which direction to walk to get there – hmm, not the most positive first impression you could have… =:-/ Getting in worked just fine, except that there were no lanyards left for the press passes – which is pretty inconvenient, you can’t just hold the pass in your hand all day, right? The guy at the accreditation booth was really helpful though and gave me his lanyard. Thanks a lot! And I guess that sums of a bit of the festival spirit – things often weren’t going the way they should, but people were trying to help where possible; just that sometimes, they just didn’t have a clue how… Which can be really charming, and I know quite a few festivals in Germany where it is just the same, but since I was so used to the professional organization from the festival before, it left a negative impression.
Next, I tried to find out if there were some photo rules or some kind of press area, which again took a lot of asking around and being sent from A to B to C and back to square one. And in the end, it turned out that I didn’t really need any of it, because the main stage was so high up that there was no chance to take any good pictures from the aisle in front of the stage anyway. Well, but then it was allowed to take photos throughout the whole night from anywhere else, so I just skipped the first three songs in the aisle… =;-)
On the first days, there were a lot of complaints about too few toilets on the festival grounds – guess they got that fixed up before Saturday. Hardly any queues whatsoever, and I thought it was rather funny to have the Dixies out above the sea on a little pier… *g*
There was a huge selection of food on the festival – from Thai to Mexican to grilled meat and of course junk food. And also here, queues seemed reasonable (if you didn’t try to get your food right after one band had finished, of course…). The disadvantage here was the cashless system – you had to buy a “cashless card” for 50 kroner just to be able to buy anything on the festival grounds. Then you would load up the card with any amount, pay with it, and then get the rest of the money (minus the 50 kroner for the card) refunded in the end. IF you had a Norwegian bank account. If not, like me, you had to plan ahead thoroughly to make sure no money was left on the card…
The festival grounds were so-so: There were two stages, both with enough space in front of them, and so high that you could see without problems – if you weren’t standing too close, that is. =;-) Very nice were some “natural stands” with stone boulders in the back, where people could sit and enjoy the concerts. The bad part, however, was that there was just one narrow way to the big stage, where everybody had to walk… And of course that one was really crowded, and people gathered on this side of the stage because it was hard to make it to the other side. You couldn’t get to the other side from the back, because the VIP area blocked the way. Not a good arrangement, in my opinion… =:-/
Two stages is a great idea, in general. However, if there are two stages, I would expect a continuous program. Not sure if there were just delays or if this was how it was planned, but there were always long breaks between the shows on the two stages. In my opinion, it doesn’t necesaarily make sense to have two stages then…
All this might sound really negative, but all in all, Stavernfestivalen is a nice festival. Even though a few things were a bit chaotic, others were organized perfectly – the night busses, for example, or the food and drinks. And it seemed like the audience was really enjoying themselves, and this is the most important part, of course! Even though the size of the festivals probably didn’t really differ a lot, Stavernfestival seemed much smaller than Odderøya Live – Odderøya Live was the “professional” festival, Stavernfestival the slightly improvised, local festival, with its own festival spirit.
Well, and now I wrote a full festival report without even writing about the music! =;-) But I’ll keep that short as well, because I was quite busy throughout the day and only got to see parts of the shows.
Bjørn Eidsvåg was playing rather early in the day, but a lot of people showed up for his concert. And everyone seemed to have lots of fun! No wonder, since he managed to capture the crowd not only by his songs, but also by his stories inbetween. That’s what a headliner has to do, right? And the headliner is the artist who plays on the big stage first, right? =;-) And he took care of us: “Before Kaizers and Bernhoft tonight, you’ll first get some decent music now!”
Next up on the big stage was The Soundtrack of our Lives. Very nice and entertaining music, but unfortunately, there weren’t as many people in the audience as they would have deserved. Still, a great show!
I pretty much missed Jarle Bernhoft after that, but judging from what I had seen at Odderøya Live and what the crowd seemed like from afar, he had a huge audience and delivered another pompeous concert.
Den Svenska Björnstammen played on the small stage right before Kaizers played on the big one, and they gathered a huge crowd with their party music. Nice to watch, and a great warm-up for the headliner!
Concluding the day and the whole festival, Kaizers Orchestra played an amazing concert and convinced everyone why they are Norway’s best live band at the moment! You can read all about their concert in my full report on kaizers.konzertjunkie.com!
Time for another festival in Norway! Kristiansand, Norway’s “summer city”, is the perfect place for a summer festival – a great and easy to reach location, a huge potential audience, and of course lots of sun in the summer time! Starting in the nineties already, Kristiansand hosted Quartfestivalen, which featured huge international bands. After quite a few financial problems, Quart had to close down, and now the slightly smaller Odderøya Live festival took over.
This festival isn’t necessarily aimed at drawing lots of people from other cities or even from abroad – most acts are Norwegian (or at least Scandinavian) and play a wide variety of music, basically everything that is popular and on the radio. John Fogerty (Creedance Clearwater Revival), Kaizers Orchestra and Roxette as headliners – that covers quite a bit of ground! As a result, the festival audience is very heterogeneous; and on average quite a bit older than at other festivals. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing… =;-)
I had been to Kristiansand and Odderøya, the location of the festival, once before. What I remembered about the island (or rather peninsula) was that it was huge, long ways to walk to get anywhere, quite far to even get there. Hmm… I must have been tired the day I went for a walk there. =;-) Actually, the festival is just a few minutes walk from the city center, out in the green, in beautiful surroundings and with a view towards the sea. My first impression of the festival was very positive: a fairly big, square area with lots of space, slanting down towards the stage – which means that no matter where you are standing, you have a great view. Except for the hall hosting the bar and the toilets and a few meters in front of it, there’s only grass and gravel though… great for sitting, but let’s hope it doesn’t rain. =;-)
The first artist of the festival was Sordal. According to the information in the program, he has been playing in lots of very different bands ranging from prog rock and Norwegian pop to electronica – and you could hear that. While you could probably classify all his songs as “pop rock”, they were very varied. A very nice start into the festival!
Next up was Daniel Norgren from Sweden. He was advertised as “a mixture between Mississippi blues/country and Swedish forests” – hmm, okay? Sounds interesting. And it was! Daniel sang and played guitar and drums (at the same time of course) and was accompanied by stand-up bass and organ. His performance reminded me a bit of Jarle Bernhoft’s solo gigs – not necessarily considering the musical style, but from the way he presented himself on stage. Very enigmatic and enthusiastic; it showed how much he enjoys playing music.
Both bands were perfect warm-ups for the evening. The area slowly started to fill up – very slowly though, I guess most people were planning to arrive in time for Raga Rockers. However, those who were there already were sitting on the ground, enjoying the music and relaxing in the sun.
Yes, there was sun! Even though the weather forecast hadn’t been the best, there was no rain and the sun came out in the afternoon. The perfect conditions for a festival!
When it was time for Raga Rockers, it had filled up quite a bit – still far from full, but a good crowd. I was suprised, however, that most people were still stitting down – I mean, Raga Rockers is a rock band! If you’re not into Norwegian music, you probably don’t know them, but they are one of the “big four” of Norwegian music and have quite a cult status. And rightly so! Their songs are very catchy, and you have to stand and dance and jump around to enjoy them… =;-)
However, I got to admit that I was a bit disappointed by their concert. The setlist was good, the music was great, the sound was pretty bad in the beginning but got better – but I was missing the energy on stage. OK, the band members aren’t the youngest anymore, and this might be their last tour. However, they were barely moving on stage, which killed the atmosphere in my opinion. It didn’t reflect in the music, fortunately, so when you closed your eyes the concert was just as captivating as I had expected, but I really would have hoped to see that on stage as well. A bit of a pity! But still great to get to see them. The audience got more and more into it throughout the concert – by the last few songs, most people were on their feet and singing along, so Raga Rockers managed to capture the audience without even moving. =;-) That’s a bit of a feat to accomplish as well!
Headliner of the night was John Fogerty. Honestly, I had never heard that name before the festival, but of course I had heard the name Creedance Clearwater Revival – and that is basically John Fogerty. So I expected an old-style rock’n’roll concert, and that’s just what we got! He came on 20 minutes late, but played almost two hours. And only hits in the end, of course!
There was quite a crowd by the time John Fogerty came on – maybe not quite sold out, but a huge audience. As expected, the average age was a bit higher than at other festivals; no wonder considering the headliner. But there were quite a few younger people in the audience as well, and both young and old were enjoying the show and singing along loudly. The few rain drops in the middle of the set couldn’t ruin the atmosphere, and this concert was clearly the highlight of the first day.
The program of the second day was completely different from the one of the first day. Aimed at a much younger audience, we got a “radio hits day” today. At first, it looked like nobody was interested in the first act of the day – by the time Gabrielle was supposed to start, the area was entirely empty. However, it turned out that she had arrived late, so the start of the concert had to be moved back a bit, and the doors hadn’t opened yet.
Once the first people started coming in, it filled up really nicely, and as expected, the audience was a lot younger. The first row was filled entirely by teenagers. Behind them, everyone was enjoying a nice start into the festival, again relaxing in the sun and listening intently.
Gabrielle came on about 20 minutes late. She got a few radio hits in Norway, and the audience seemed very positive about her show. Norwegian pop, accompanied by two keyboards and drums, and a great voice. A nice way to start into the festival!
Next up was LidoLido. Again, clearly aimed at a younger audience – he’s a rapper, with a full backing band. LidoLido himself is fairly young and seemed like a really likeable guy. He also included some “citations” of well-known international songs into his show, and it seemed like he managed to convince not only the kids that had gathered in front of the stage, but also the rest of the crowd that was still enjoying the sun. My only criticism: too much bass. But as LidoLido pointed out, you can never have enough bass, so I guess that was intended. =;-)
Obviously, not only the audience was quite a bit younger today compared to yesterday – also the average age on stage was much lower. The next band on stage was Honningbarna – young guys (actually from Kristiansand!) playing punk music, who got hugely popular in Norway during the last two years. And rightfully so! I hadn’t managed to see them live yet, I had just heard they were quite a rip-off of Skambankt, another Norwegian band. And yep, in a way that is true, but they do add their own elements to the music. The singer plays a cello during some songs, and while his singing might not be the best, he brings the lyrics across. In addition, everyone is always in motion; lots of energy on stage, which is great to watch! They had their own little fanclub gathered in front of the stage, who were really into the concert and were singing along enthusiastically. Add constant “Barna! Barna!” choirs to that and you have an amazing show!
Yesterday, after the Raga Rockers concert, I posted on Facebook: “Let’s start a band and play Raga Rockers songs the way they should be played!” Guess I was late with my idea… Honningbarna ended their set with “Noen å håte”, THE Raga Rockers song, and they performed it in the way I would have expected it to be presented yesterday. Both thumbs up for Honningbarna!
Next it was time for Jarle Bernhoft. I knew him because he warmed up for Kaizers Orchestra on their last European tour – back then he was playing solo, all alone on stage, imitating all instruments by himself. This time, he was playing with his band – an 11-piece orchestra. Very impressive, especially with the lights and theatralic backdrop. All in all, it was completely different than what I knew of him; actually, I hardly recognized some of his songs. But it was great, and the audience loved it! Pure pop, but with a full band, with background singers and brass… revue style. Totally different from all the other concerts so far on the festival.
A lot of people in the audience regarded Bernhoft as the headliner of the night – but I assume they were convinced by the REAL headliner, Kaizers Orchestra. As always, they delivered a captivating show, playing their hits and some special extras, and really getting the audience involved. When they played their biggest hit Hjerteknuser, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) was waving their hands in the air… beautiful! Read the full report of the Kaizers concert on kaizers.konzertjunkie.com.
Hmm… I might be repeating myself, but the third day started just like the other days: with clear blue sky, bright sunshine, and everyone sitting in the grass, enjoying the music. Just perfect! =:-)
The first artist on stage was Hanne Kolstø. Switching between guitar, keyboard, and tambourine, using samples and loops, accompanied just by one guy on guitar and keyboards, she delivered a great show. She definitely managed to captivate everyone who had made it to the festival grounds already, just by her presence on stage. In the beginning it was still rather empty, but Hanne quickly found out that everyone in the front was there to see Roxette, the headliner of the night. They were from Spain and Germany – and since Hanne didn’t want to leave them out, she started talking in Norwegian and English between the songs, until she got an OK from the Norwegians to continue in English only. =;-) One example of how she made the audience relate to her – she really had a wonderful presence on stage, very likable.
I don’t want to continue with “in contrary to the next artist”, this would be mean. But unfortunately, it’s not that far off. Bertine Zetlitz played professional pop, with a full band, which was nice to listen to – but compared to Hanne Kolstø, she seemed like a bit of a “diva”. I guess that would have been different if she hadn’t played in exactly this slot. But she did, and it seemed like the audience enjoyed her show, but it was much more distant and professional than Kolstø’s show right before. At the end of her set, she tried to make the audience sing along, which worked so-so. But then, people were surprised when she suddenly went off, without even announcing her last song. A professional show, but with less heart than other artists, unfortunately…
Next it was time for another Norwegian “cult” band, namely CC Cowboys. Their disadvantage was that they didn’t really fit into the program of the day – they would have fit perfectly into the first day with Raga Rockers and John Fogerty. Since today was more of a “pop” day, they had a hard time, especially in the beginning. Also, they started off rather slow. Not sure if those were new songs that the audience didn’t know (I didn’t) or if they just decided to start it calmly and then build it up… but the first half of the concert didn’t really catch on. After that, however, they brought on all their hits and the audience got more and more excited. In the end, everyone was singing along and dancing, just the way it’s got to be!
A last break before the final headliner: Roxette! I had been looking forward to their show, but mostly because they are a band of my childhood. I didn’t really expect much, but I thought it would be cool to get to hear all the old songs again. And what can I say? I was totally flashed! Actually, I still knew the lyrics of most songs by heart, and it was incredibly nice to hear them live. The show was energetic – even though Marie’s illness is very obvious and she hardly moved on stage. Per and the rest of the band took care of that part. Her voice, however, was in great shape! They concluded the concert with Joyride, Listen to your heart and The Look, giant water balloons in the audience, and lots of energy on stage. Awesome!
The only downside to this last concert was the audience – while on the other days, most people were at the festival to enjoy the concerts, it seemed that this time the majority was there for the party and didn’t even care about the concert. They sang along during the most well-known songs, but apart from that, it was hard to enjoy the concert between all the talking and all the drunk people falling around. A pity! But fortunately, this was the only day this was noticeable this badly. And the great concert absolutely made up for it!
All in all, Odderøya Live turned out to be a great festival. The whole organization of the festival was very professional, and everything was taken care of. The location is perfect – of course the weather played along, it might have been different with rain. But the way it was, it was a perfect summer festival.
Beforehand, it seemed a bit like the organizers were doubtful about the presales and about how many people would actually show up. They ended up with probably about 6000 a day, which is a great number! The atmosphere was great throughout the whole festival: During the days, everything was relaxed – sunshine, beer and music – and at night, there were amazing concerts and a crowd that was mostly into what was happening on stage. Thus the perfect mixture. Thanks Odderøya Live, see you next year! =:-D
The festival season is right around the corner! I didn’t write much about this year’s festivals yet, but that doesn’t mean that this summer will be boring concertwise. Oh no, not at all!
As always, there are lots of big and small festivals taking place in Norway. And as a rough estimate, you can probably say that all those festivals that did not have Kaizers Orchestra as headliner last year have them this year. =;-) Being the huge Kaizers fan that I am, of course I pick my festivals according to where Kaizers are playing. And for me, the most important factor when deciding which of the festivals to attend is not the location – it can be worth traveling to the middle of nowhere for an amazing festival – but the rest of the line-up. You want to have a great time on all days, not only the one when Kaizers are playing, right?
So this time, the choice was really easy: Odderøya Live in Kristiansand! The line-up speaks for itself: The first day of the festival features, amongst others, Raga Rockers from Norway and John Fogerty from the US. You might not know Raga Rockers when you are not into Norwegian music – but you miss out on something! Having been around for 30 years now, they are an “institution” in Norway. However, this will be their last tour; another reason not to miss their concert! For sure, Raga Rockers and John Fogerty will provide a great opening day for the festival.
Day two has, amongst others, Honningbarna, Jarle Bernhoft, and Kaizers Orchestra. Honningbarna is a young Norwegian punk rock band that has really taken off the last two years. Similarly Jarle Bernhoft – no, not regarding the “punk rock” part, but he also made it big in 2011, even being elected the “Spellemann” of the year, which is one of the highest music awards in Norway. And then there’s Kaizers Orchestra as headliner – a guarantee for a great concert with everyone in the audience singing along every single line of every song.
Last but not least, day three offers concerts by CC Cowboys and Roxette, and some more of course. CC Cowboys is another band that every Norwegian knows and loves. I saw them at a festival a couple of years ago, didn’t know any of their songs, and was captivated right away because they just manage to drag you along, even if you don’t know them. Amazing! This time, I know their songs, so I’m really looking forward to their show. I guess I don’t need to introduce Roxette – everyone knows their old hits, and they also have a new album out now, so I guess we’ll get a nice mixture of old and new.
So, thumbs up for this amazing line-up! And if that is not enough to convince you to pay Odderøya Live a visit – how about the location? The festival takes place in Kristiansand, in walking distance to the city center, so you can enjoy the city life and a festival at the same time. And all of this in the middle of July, where the chances that the weather will play along are highest. You might even be able to visit the beach before walking out to the festival for the night!
Getting to Kristiansand is easy – if you’re coming from abroad, you can fly directly to Kristiansand, or take the ferry from Hirtshals. Kristiansand is also on the train line from Oslo to Stavanger. There’s lots of hotel accommodation available, and in general, Kristiansand is worth a visit, especially in summer.
The ticket price for a festival pass is about 1500 NOK – this might seem a lot to Europeans, but for Norwegian standards, that is a very fair price. And well worth the money! There are also day passes available.
The legendary Spektrum concert… 9000 people in the audience, announced more than a year in advance, and the grand finale of the Violeta Violeta Vol. I tour!
Of course there had to be some special reporting for this concert. And there was – live via Twitter! And since I couldn’t really follow the concert while tweeting (which I had known beforehand, so I didn’t mind *g*) and there’s not really anything else to say anyway, here’s the live report from Twitter for you!
My judgment of the concert: It was amazing to see Kaizers in such a huge venue, and it really fit them! The conclusion with Die Polizei was just breathtaking – and I’m really looking forward to the DVD… The concert itself wasn’t really anything special. Actually, several concerts in Europe topped this one, regarding energy and humor on stage; but the atmosphere at Spektrum made up for all of that, so this concert was definitely a one-of-a-kind.
08:19:47: Live report from Kaizers Orchestra’s Oslo concert starting in about 10 hours here – if everything works as planned. Cross your fingers!
19:33:26: So, here we go! Sorry for being late, but now everything is set up. And the lights just went out – Micke from Sweden is on stage!
19:34:25: Kaizers told him he’s got 15 minutes before they throw him off stage. =;-)
19:38:00: “It’s like in the old times, in the war – they always send the old guys out first!” Micke from Sweden
19:38:57: Micke wanted to be part of Kaizers Orchestra – warming up for them is the closest he got. He’s known them for ten years now!
19:45:45: Spektrum isn’t filled yet, but Micke gets the audience to sing along – and they do so loudly!
19:51:00: Micke is done – and Geoff Berner just went on stage! Starting with the Maginot Line! Stupid, stupid!
19:52:28: Geoff seems satisfied: “Very good, gigantic mob of people!”
19:55:09: Spektrum before the concert. http://twitpic.com/4itr8v
19:55:58: Geoff’s next song: Fuck the police! And 8000 people are shouting just that…
19:56:47: Micke from Sweden http://twitpic.com/4itrwc
19:59:17: And now – of course – Whiskey Rabbi!
20:11:02: And everything’s very quick here – Jarle Bernhoft just came on and apologized that there is one more support band. =;-)
20:11:28: And Spektrum is almost full by now!
20:15:01: Jarle Bernhoft’s first song: Street lights.
20:19:33: Jarle wants people to watch the bonus material on the DVD. For example: So many faces
20:28:19: After Jarle played Bittersweet, we got to dance now: Fly away
20:36:17: One more song for Jarle, and of course it’s Tears for Fears’ Shout!
20:41:58: Wait – why is a little club singing “Shout, shout, let it all out” louder than Spektrum? That’s got to change until Kaizers come on!
20:49:34: The audience at Spektrum http://twitpic.com/4iue25
20:52:55: So, while we’re all waiting for Kaizers to come on: Anything specific you want me to report about?
20:58:33: OK – Spektrum CAN be loud! However, we still have to wait a bit for Kaizers to come on!
21:05:48: And now the lights go out and the intro comes on! =:-D
21:07:49: Not the Russian Dance, but Begravelses Polka – and 9000 people can cheer REALLY loudly!
21:09:05: Omen bears his suitcase on stage, followed by Killmaster, Thunder, Mink, and Hellraizer!
21:10:35: And now: The Jackal followed by a film crew!
21:13:17: “Jeg visste det kom til å ta fyr!” First song: Delikatessen!
21:14:29: The whole band suddenly froze under Delikatessen – except for Hellraizer, who was confused what was going on. =;-)
21:15:23: Next song: Djevelens orkester. And 9000 people clapping and dancing. Or no – the stands are still sitting. Get up!!
21:19:37: Will people actually know Señor Torpedo? Sounds like they do, hell yeah!
21:21:13: The intro http://twitpic.com/4iuqsg
21:22:18: Delikatessen http://twitpic.com/4iur93
21:22:57: Next song: Veterans klage.
21:24:08: Kaizers have been on tour for 5 weeks now – total number of attendees: 9000 people. And now in Oslo: 9000 people!
21:25:10: “Let me see 20000 hands in the air!” – Sigøynerblod
21:27:56: “Det finnes ei trapp som går ned til en kjeller” – no, the Jackal does not need to sing Resistansen!
21:30:17: And of course the Jackal jumped into the audience!
21:30:46: Time for a little break – before they’ll start with the Violeta part of the concert!
21:32:18: Birds on the screen, Philemon Arthur & The Dung, and everybody’s singing!
21:34:26: “Kom inn og få deg litt… kaffi!”
21:35:19: The first time the Jackal sang with a lump in his throat…
21:35:35: And now: Five-four time with Femtakt filosofi!
21:36:18: Veterans klage http://twitpic.com/4iuwwi
21:37:08: Hands up in the air! Sigøynerblod http://twitpic.com/4iux9f
21:39:43: If there’s one guy the Jackal would sing a duet with, it’s – of course – Hellraizer! Din kjole lukter bensin, mor!
21:42:11: And a little ballet dancing at the end, while Spektrum sings “Det lukter bensin av den vakre kjolen min”.
21:44:03: Amazing singing! Next song: En for orgelet, en for meg.
21:44:41: The Jackal just ordered everyone on the stands: “Rise up!” And he didn’t have to ask twice!
21:46:01: Hellraizer’s rap part is cheered wildly as well – of course!
21:46:29: Philemon Arthur & The Dung http://twitpic.com/4iv0va
21:47:58: Now the Jackal’s up on the barrel with his bass drum.
21:48:30: Are we happy with the first part of the concert? OH YES!
21:48:50: And now the new song on Norwegian radio: Diamant til kull!
21:49:23: Femtakt filosofi http://twitpic.com/4iv1zh
21:51:05: “Sjå på deg nå – Med en fot i gravå så forsvinner du, go go go – Ah, eg kjenner deg så – Du kunne blitt en diamant, men i stedet er du kull”
21:53:55: There’s people from all over Norway at the concert – “it feels like the cup final in 87!”
21:54:08: Psycho under min hatt!
21:56:24: Hellraizer on guitar with his solo…
21:57:19: And now it’s time for Bond: Svarte katter & flosshatter!
21:59:56: Omen with the megaphone in the spotlight! And he only cares about combing his hair afterwards, tse… =;-)
22:03:44: Kaizers just got platinum for not only Violeta Violeta Vol I and Maestro, but also for the next song: Hjerteknuser!
22:04:33: And the Jackal doesn’t need to sing!
22:07:16: A bit of fishing for compliments – but there’s not really a need for that. But the Jackal is really amazed by the opportunity to play here!
22:07:52: Kaizer chants – and Kaizers traveled over all of Europe to see the Oslo audience.
22:08:23: And now the song that started the whole trilogy: Sju bøtter tårer er nok, Beatrice.
22:11:20: “Og så synger vi folkens!” Og duene på taket, de har aldri stått så stille…
22:12:32: Psycho under min hatt http://twitpic.com/4ivat6
22:13:06: Omen at the megaphone during Svarte katter http://twitpic.com/4ivb0h
22:14:31: And this concludes the second part of the concert. Omen starts the third part on the organ: Ompa til du dør!
22:15:18: Lots of chandeliers on stage – now that is something new!
22:16:01: Det kan bli jævlig varmt der nede!
22:17:41: And now the barrels are used for the very first time tonight! (Except for standing on them, that is… *g*)
22:19:33: So what’s the next song? Bum-bum-bum-bum bum-bum bum?
22:19:51: Right: Bøn fra helvete of course!
22:22:23: RT @Berekvam: Kaizers har satt uoffisiell norsk rekord i lysekroner:)
22:22:56: Henry er ikke en prest og ingen av oss er klokker!
22:23:15: And my first line in Norwegian: Schölischegüüüüt!
22:25:00: KONTROLL PÅ KONTINENTET! And everyone’s on their feet now!
22:26:00: Sju bøtter tårer er nok, Beatrice http://twitpic.com/4ivfwh
22:26:46: Chandeliers during Ompa til du dør http://twitpic.com/4ivg6y
22:27:06: Killmaster’s guitar solo – will he jump into the audience again?
22:27:28: No he doesn’t – at least not now. =;-)
22:27:58: “Do you want me to introduce the band now, just like in old times?” – Halleluja!
22:30:38: No surprise in the band introduction so far – and the Lord made Hellraizer look good in any color!
22:31:28: “And you will know him by his Indian name: He who hides his head under towels and gladly gives his picks away!”
22:32:43: Bøn fra helvete http://twitpic.com/4ivigx
22:33:36: Welcome to all first-timers – welcome to the Kaizers family!
22:33:46: At work! http://twitpic.com/4ivivx
22:34:39: The Jackal himself is the biggest Kaizers fan out there, even if there’s lots of “blodfans”. And now we get to hear his favorite: Maestro!
22:35:42: Sving din hammer!
22:37:54: Note: 9000 people speed up much more when singing “samvittigheten rein” than 500 do. =;-)
22:41:05: And that’s it: A thank-you to the fans, standing ovations for the band, and more than just lumps in the throat on stage…
22:42:09: Stomping on the stands – and they are back!
22:42:39: First encore: KGB!
22:43:39: Oh…. and the Jackal decided he doesn’t need a shirt. =;-)
22:44:45: Det er ikkje slutt før den feite damen synger!
22:45:16: Hellraizer http://twitpic.com/4ivncl
22:47:08: Maestro http://twitpic.com/4ivo0s
22:47:33: Hmm… Kaizers have a plan if we want another song? YES, of course we want!
22:48:02: The next song is maybe the best Kaizers Orchestra song ever: Dieter Meyers Inst.
22:50:13: Legg meg inn!
22:54:33: Good bye http://twitpic.com/4ivqwj
22:55:53: A gigantic conclusion for a great concert!
22:56:17: And off they go… the audience is demanding more!
22:56:33: Good bye http://twitpic.com/4ivrmp
22:57:09: KGB http://twitpic.com/4ivrv3
22:57:28: Dieter Meyers http://twitpic.com/4ivrzn
22:57:54: Dieter Meyers http://twitpic.com/4ivs5o
22:58:25: But yes, we DO get one more! Kaizers are back on stage, and now we’ll get Die Polizei!
22:59:38: If you have a lighter, turn it on!
23:01:22: Everybody’s singing – beautiful!
23:02:02: “And we know where you live….”
23:04:01: And while the audience is singing, Kaizers say good-bye once more…
23:04:53: Kaizers are off stage. And the audience continues singing! Gåsehud… =:-D
23:07:37: The first people are leaving – but the audience is still singing loudly.
23:09:07: Good bye http://twitpic.com/4ivwj8
23:09:29: Die Polizei http://twitpic.com/4ivwo7
23:09:54: Lighters in the audience… http://twitpic.com/4ivwu6
23:10:18: Kaizers chants now instead of the singing…
23:11:00: And now the lights went on – so that’s the end…
23:12:18: An amazing concert! Thanks a lot to Kaizers and to ALL Kaizer fans out there!
23:15:00: So thanks for following – let me know if you liked it! And after all the work it’s now time for partying, so I’ll call it a day.
23:15:18: Have a great night, all of you!
It’s always great to come back to Scandinavia after some concerts in Germany/Europe, just because of the language – because suddenly the audience can sing along every single word and not only the lalala parts. And that is awesome, of course! And if the concert takes place at Vega in Copenhagen, the concert must turn out fantastic!
However, this time there were rather few people there, at least for Vega. The gallery was closed, but the hall itself filled up pretty well until the start of the concert. And when Jarle Bernhoft went on stage, it was obvious that the audience was really loud and wanted to have a great time! And that’s just how it continued for the remainder of the concert. It definitely wasn’t a “serious” concert where Kaizers concentrated on playing perfectly, but it was really about having fun; on stage and in the audience. You could see that already when the crew did a little guest appearance under Jarle Bernhoft’s Fly Away; they came on stage and showed us their dancing moves… *lol* That – of course – made us hope for a few crew tricks at this “last” concert of the tour, as usual for a lot of bands. But (unfortunately!), I’ve never seen any of those at a Kaizers concert, so we got a “normal” show.
But the concert was really funny nevertheless! The Jackal’s Danish lessons (he can pronounce “dører” perfectly in Danish by now, as the audience confirmed, and then he transferred the newly learned pronunciation rule to “tårer” in the following song; and of course we got the Danish version of “En for orgelet” as well), a birthday song for a fan (who actually wanted to hear Die Polizei, but the Jackal refused to understand that – at least not in the middle of the concert *g*), Hellraizer’s five seconds of fame in the break in Delikatessen, the guitar players up on the barrels again during Sigøynerblod, and after that a song “about a man who went down into a cellar”. And Omen seems to pass the time between his playing parts with a book by now. Or maybe he is studying where he needs to stand during his important appearance in Svarte katter, ’cause obviously he doesn’t quite know that yet – or why would Killmaster suddenly push him back two steps? =;-)
The setlist: Intro, Delikatessen, Djevelens orkester, Señor Torpedo, Veterans klage, Sigøynerblod, Resistansen, Philemon Arthur & The Dung, Femtakt filosofi, Din kjole lukter bensin mor, En for orgelet en for meg, Psycho under min hatt, Svarte katter & flosshatter, Hjerteknuser, Sju bøtter tårer er nok Beatrice, Ompa til du dør, Happy birthday, Bøn fra helvete, Kontroll på kontintentet, Maestro. Encore KGB and Die Polizei.
During Kontroll på kontinentet, Killmaster jumped into the audience again to play his solo – and the Jackal made sure that he didn’t just end up back on stage right away, by balancing on the guard rail and pushing Killmaster back into the audience. At least until he jumped in himself and the both of them surfed the crowd in parallel.
Maestro, KGB, and Die Polizei were the perfect conclusion for the concert. The latter with the audience singing along loudly, of course. Really beautiful… and a great conclusion for the tour! Not counting Oslo now. =;-)
And the tour goes on – next stop: Berlin! Berlin is also known for great Kaizers concerts, and again, we got just that. In a way, the concert seemed like a rerun of the Munich concert, because they “recycled” some announcements and things (like for example Hellraizer’s confusion about the break in Delikatessen), but that isn’t bad at all – if it works, do it again!
Of course the concert started with Jarle Bernhoft, who changed the name of Postbahnhof in “Postbernhoft”. At least I think that’s what he did, if I understood it correctly. And as always, Jarle was a good sign for how the atmosphere during the Kaizers concert would be. He got a great reception, and so did Kaizers lateron!
The setlist was shortened a bit: Intro, Delikatessen, Djevelens orkester, Señor Torpedo, Veterans klage, Sigøynerblod, Resistansen, Philemon Arthur & The Dung, Din kjole lukter bensin mor, En for orgelet en for meg, Psycho under min hatt, Svarte katter & flosshatter, Sju bøtter tårer er nok Beatrice, Bøn fra helvete, Kontroll på kontintentet, Maestro. Encore KGB, Bak et halleluja, and Kvite russer.
Kvite russer was amazing – the audience was singing along VERY loudly, the Jackal owned them completely, and it was just really really nice. =:-) So nice that Jackal and Thunder stormed towards the microphone after the song and started singing something (which sounded too good to be just improvised, but even the Norwegians couldn’t identify a song). Until Omen, assisted by the crew, came on to drag them off stage. =;-)
By the way, the German translation for Bak et halleluja is “Hinter ein Halleluja” (just like the organ is still called “Eins für das Orgel und eins für mich” *g*). And in the middle of the song, Killmaster proved that you can also hit the barrels with a photo camera in your (other *g*) hand.
We got a slightly different version of Killmaster’s solo in Kontroll på kontinentet this time, because he jumped into the audience and played the solo while surfing. Which of course caused some wrong notes, but then who cares – it was awesome! =:-)
And also worth mentioning: In Sigøynerblod, we got the “old” version once again. The one with the guitar players up on the barrels and the “put your hands in the air like this!”
By the way, the venue seemed really packed – which isn’t really that surprising, because Postbahnhof is a bit smaller than for example Muffathalle. Thus the concert was really great!