Saturday, June 18, 2011

I can’t believe that I hadn’t been to Norway before either. Having had a long association with the country since the mag was in nappies, it was only after a monumental connection with The Yum Yums in Madrid that this wrong would have to be righted. So when Morten and Caroline built the inaugural House of Rock (Festival) then it was a cinch that people would show up from all over. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. I’m not sure how this report will bob and weave or even show up. There’s a lot of information to process and it’s making me a little sad/mad that I ain’t still there. A mix of great folks, top notch combos and sociological experiments eating gas station forecourt pizza was just the tip of the iceberg.

Message to Ryanair – Torp is nowhere near Oslo. Why don’t you change the Edinburgh flight to arrive and depart from Rygge? I’d really appreciate any consideration that could be given. Thanks. Anyway, I digress. It was straight to Oslo after dropping my bags at Casa Dahlmann. It was there that I met up with Peter Tjolsen, the man that could be blamed for igniting my association with this particular area of Scandanavia too many moons to remember ago.

First full day Thursday (9th) ended with an appearance by The Yum Yums at Cafe Mono in Oslo. No relation to its Glasgow cousin but a nice joint nonetheless. I have to admit that I didn’t know who Jo Nesbø was. I don’t (can’t?) read as much as I’d like to so there you go. Seems like he’s the most famous person in Norway though and is having a meteoric rise across the rest of the world too with his first book now on the NY best-seller list. What matters in this neighbourhood is that he had the good taste to pick this band to play at the launch for his latest (tenth?) novel “Gjenferd” (Phantom). I need to discuss his character “Harry Hole” with Andre. He’ll find it, er, funny.

I was sitting at the soundcheck considering what an enormous privilege it was to be watching these kids prepare. Sure, winning the lottery would be OK if I ever bought a ticket, but this was pretty satisfying. I was kind of in a daze through the whole evening and it wasn’t the booze. It was like the revelation of El Sol all over again. Hit after hit after hit. Nesbø did a version of a big hit he had in a previous life, “Jenter som kommer” (“Girls Who Come”) with them. I imagine this one was a little more turbo-charged. He should record it with them and help them crossover into the major leagues where they deserve to be. I just found out he’s coming to Edinburgh for the Book Festival so I’m looking for a posse to doorstep him. JN’s twin brother was on backing vocals with Ms Vib there might even be a photo of that here if any of ‘em came out. I’m SHITE at taking pictures.

And so it was time for day one of the House of Rock extrav. I guess we were ready but not quite ready for the scale of the big fun. The location had changed from the HOR compound to Café Brandstrup. At the behest of the local constabulary. Great venue that had been part of a local brewery, lovely old place with some cracking wood features (huh, huh – he said wood). The Quattro crew were already there and as we gathered, it was sure a sight for sore eyes to see them Fleshtones enter the bar following a raid on Bergen the previous night.

Soon it was time for the music to start and Caroline and the Treats were a fine place to start. Jonathan had told me how great they were and to drop everything and get to Spain earlier this year when I was moping. That advice should have been taken. Rather than bang on, I’m gonna try to provide clips of the bands so you can hear and see the joy. Commentary will be provided where necessary.

I didn’t see Crimson Highlights but I think this was their second show ever. Word is that they were great and that’s coming from someone that knows her onions. Or should that be kebabs?

Shouldn't need to tell anybody here that Suzy & Los Quattro are one of the finest bands on earth. If you disagree then there’s really no hope for you. They have a great new drummer – not that Yuri wasn’t – some banging new tunes and they’re coming to get you in September.

Death By Unga Bunga are an amazing, young Moss collective that make an almighty racket which acts that have been around for yonks can’t muster. Sebastian is a ubiquitous feature on the scene and I think these kids will be breaking out across the planet in due course. They have charisma though so I hope that doesn’t set them back. It won’t where it matters.

The Yum Yums twice in two days could be considered a musical OD but I survived the palpitations. This performance was even better than the previous night and the clip I posted during the week nails it. There was a huge festival happening in Norway close by this same weekend and I’ll be fucked by the ragman’s coronet if any of them even came close to this.

And then it was time for some more old scores to be settled. The Nomads with Robert Erikson on the drum stool. I may have been trying to convince someone that the upcoming show in Solna would have both Joakim and Robert ala The Glitterband. It wasn’t me – it was the liquor talking. Possibly. Introduced by Colonel Zaremba, the band tore us all down right up to the final whistle.

And the night wasn’t over. Gry literally got on her bike and led a squad of us down to TivoliKjeller'n where I was ”disc-en-spinnering” (c) P Zaremba - that some folks went several degrees of nuts to. I really appreciate that indulgence, it makes an old git feel all warm and I don’t mean that I’d pe’ed myself.

My homie, Sus Kiwi and I then hit up the kebab shop and took the piss out of some locals. It was a perfect end to a perfect day and something that is likely to stick with me until that final taxi.

By the time we all surfaced the next day, things were a little more subdued but like the troopers we are, the challenge was risen to. My first beer of the day was in the early evening, fate wasn’t being tempted. Musicwise, it was The Twisteroos job to get this particular section of the party started. These people start off with this level of octane. What’s wrong with them you say? Nothing at all – they just have very high standards.

Next up was The Dahlmanns. If you consider the privilege that was sitting watching The YYs soundcheck then it an equal mind fugue to have these kids in my extended family. And not content with being great, great people – they have the potential to make the airwaves safe again. Having heard what will be their debut album for the most part then you better be prepared to be blown clean off your feet. They could be Abba-mungous. Really. I’m beginning to take a Beavis-type fit just thinking about it and can’t find any clips to ease that jones.

Miss Chain and The Broken Heels were next. I never quite got the records but in person they’re an infectious commodity. The way they shimmied their set into the consciousness was exactly what was needed at that point in the day. I need to go back to the records. Damn nice people too.

Had to grab some food at that point and hoped we could have gotten back for Kepi Ghoulie starting. As it was, we missed a few songs but what we did clock was really stunning, combustible fun. If only we could have held out until Use Me to settle the munchies but wodjagonnado?

Then it was time for the finale. A super-rock sensation that summoned all of the life force we had left. Like one of those churches in the deep south. Again, down the road there were a ton of bloated would, has and neverbeens that aren’t fit to polish these guys sneakers at “Norwegian Wood”, the perennial journeymen were giving “Whatever It Takes” to a perfectly formed crowd in the backyard of a cool Moss hostelry.

Another afterparty that went on to the wee hours, I was standing in a taxi queue and a guy walked in at the back and hooked (punched) a woman that was standing there. A small fracas ensued and I had to do a double take. Nope, I wasn’t in Glasgow. Eventually I got back to Jeløya and had a closing beer with Andre in the beautiful greenery outside their place. It never quite gets dark there at this time of year.

Was surprisingly sprightly both days and it was an early start on Sunday to head for Oslo again. The Cocktail Slippers are hosting a BBQ event every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer at Dattera Til Hagen. This one included Steve Van Zandt,Beat Tornados and them fabulous Dahlmanns. The Tita Nah Nah Nahs brought the hula too on a wonderfully sunny afternoon. The D’s were on first and once again wowed the audience with their perfect pop stylings. First time I’d heard them do The GoGos “Has The Whole World Lost Its Head”. They were immense – get used to it.

Little Steven mumbled his way like he does in the UG broadcasts. Apparently Silvio turned States witness and had been relocated to a mob annex in Norway. I need to investigate this TV show thing.

The Beat Tornados were OK but they played too long. Less is way more in such situations. Nice to see Rocket Queen with The Slippers but was a little taken aback to hear them start with a cover of “Material Girl”. They just got a new singer (Hope) and seem to have relinquished the more rock'n'roll aspect. My tuppence worth is that Stine deserves to be a huge star and that this direction might hamper that but maybe Wicked Cool has plans? I hope so because the band works hard and the don't strike me as being cut out to be a "tribute" or "oldies" band but maybe it's just for this setting because at this point there are a lot of sabath afternoons to go. And besides - like Sgt Schultz in Hogans Heroes, "I know nothing". Just attempting to be objective.

And that’s about it, topped off with a get together at the apartment of a young lady that was having a fish cake party. Gonna happen every Sunday night apparently so I think I oughtta be setting out about now.

I cannot thank my hosts enough and really hope to get another hang together soon. I’m still hopped up on that finite Moss energy. You know “Have Love, Will Travel”? Well it’s more than apt in this case.

Check out Flameboy’s photographic evidence here and if you’re on facebook I’m not sure if you can access non-friends photos or not, probably the latter. HOR – The Sequel is scheduled for July 6th and 7th 2012. I hope that more of you will kommen down and get with it. And here are some more from the local paper.

One week later, I just keeping looking at this stuff. For confirmation that it happened if nothing else. May the House of Rock reign forever. The bar has been set so high I’m getting vertigo. Thanks for helping me off the cobwebs brothers and sisters. It was a gas.

When I was trying to post this, blogger wasn't playing nice so I'm not sure how it'll turn out layout-wise. If anything needs fixing or whatev then consider it a work in progress.