March 2003, Oslo
.Melody Club. So What!, 06/03/03
I went to see this totally sold out concert at So What! with no
expectations at all. I had only heard one of their songs on the
radio, and I got a free ticket from a friend. But as soon as the
band entered the stage, I knew this was going to be fun. Normally,
when I go to a concert, FUN is not the word I use t describe the
experience of a concert, but that was the significant feeling through
out the whole gig. The Swedish boys in the band were filled with
living energy and played their easy chewing-gum pop rock with a
quiet noticeable synthesizer. In spite of the synthesizer, Melody
Club is not a synth band band!!!!!! It is happy boys with happy
hair who love to be on stage. They have lots of easy lyrics and
some potential Summer hits. And when the boys in Melody Club get
old and die, I think their favourite music heaven is together with
.Satu. College of Cardinals. Juju Queens. Performing live at
LOUD!, March 8th.
This is a short -very short-review for those of you who missed The
Celebration of LOUD! women at Potta that night. There were many
happenings throughout the town and it was heart-breaking to make
Satu opened the live at LOUD!!, after 2 hours of the best electronica,
smoothly synthesized by DJ Lucy Rey's magic fingers. She was nervous
getting on stage, for some reason that I theoretically understand
(showing yourself is terrifying, I think so too) but that seem absurd
practically. This woman is an elixir of music machine genius. A
drum machine she did not completely trust, a colourful plastic melodica
and a mic. This is all she needs. The spontaneity of her performance,
the tongue in cheek fresh amateurism yet the sensual expertise she
shows on stage, I was tripping on fascination. Improvised electro-rap
materialised the art of freedom. Heavy beats opening the setting
for sounds experimentation. This is music for music's sake, when
noise becomes sound. No, you did not waste my time.
We also saw the College of Cardinals play for the first time with
all their band members, with x-lover bass dark punker on drums.
They seemed better at ease than when I saw them perform in a set-up
for the occasion line-up at Skuret. I once more enjoyed the music,
the genuinity of the songs emphasized by the screams coming from
behind the drum kit. I felt like something was missing, though,
this little spark
light. I find it hard to explain why some bands go straight to my
guts and take over me taking all words away from my brain. I get
washed on a beach after a storm of so far unrevealed emotions. This
is when I do not think about what I am going to write later, or
whether I should buy anther beer when the bar is not too crowded.
Sometimes I just do not take off, it does not work. For a million
reasons. That night I was only expecting a more convincing act.
The Juju Queens were a completely different story, though. I had
heard their demo cd for the first time in the afternoon, and I had
known from the very first track that I would be going thru the sonic
boom that evening. I did. Basic line-up with two guitars, one bass
and a riffle-like drum. No useless, time-wasting icing in Juju realm.
They are in it for the music, raw and direct, tight and precise.
I landed back on earth on the very last note. I still have cotton
.Interpol, So What! Thursday March 27th.
The five boys walk on stage and grab their instruments without a
glance at the crowd. They start playing. I grab your hand. We are
standing in front of the bassist, a tall, slim guy in a suit and
creeper shoes. He wears his bass low. The keyboard, guitar player
as well as the drummer are dressed likewise. New Wave style. I am
not nostalgic, this has never been my past, I brought new wave along
with me through the previous decade. They have too. I refuse to
decide on the birth of a new new wave. I fell in love with Stella
that day, as I had every single time I heard the song before and
after. I am trying to hold the tears that perfect bliss bring to
my eyes. You are smiling. The deep voice of the singer. He does
sound like Ian Curtis, it is crazy. I think Sir Curtis can rest
in peace, though. No, Interpol would probably not exist without
Joy Division before, but no, they are not a pale copy of the British
band that tore us apart in our depressed open-wounded teenage years.
They are not The Cure, nor the Smiths either, although a little
bit of both. Too guitary to be compared to Depeche Mode. They do
not smile, they do not talk. Mal de vivre on strings. Electric blood
under the cold blue spot lights. I have lost control again. They
were the best band I have seen this year, do not miss them twice!
November 2002, Oslo
The month started with a So What! delight, and it was for free,
so I still don't understand why it was not more crowded... Of course,
that's not the only great concert that was not packed when it should
have been....not to mention those who're just being very loud at
the bar wherever they go, not listening to any note that is coming
from the stage. Maybe it's time to take curiosity beyond what we
are told to check out by M(-oron)TV. OK, I'm done, music maestra!
.The Microphones. Nov 1st, so What! free concert
This is how we opened a month of live music. One of these north
western romantic evergreen kids whom we have always dreamt of having
as little brother. History of his fanzine sensitive music, Modest
Mouse / Built to Spill type stories that leave your heart over spilling
with tears. The same you usually let rol on your own in your room
in yourself. Incredible how it works with this simple guy on stage.
Just by being himself. A strip tease performance without the teasing
loud bastards who probably didn't even notice someone was on stage....
they don't know who he is, so why should they care? but yeah, I
remember now it's Friday, the first day of the week end, when 90%
of the population feel like they should behave like total assholes....and
that consumption is the key to happiness.
.Heroine + Beyond pink @ NYX, nov 7th 2002
Opening act: 4 riot grrls, Swedish style. Loud and genuine, spontaneous
and refreshing. Some pure riot grrl amateur action like we hadn't
seen in a while, and did that feel good.
Heroine was a performance. One bass guitar, one electro-acoustic
guitar. 2 men, one woman who appears to be the perfect result you
could get if you dreamt of creating a lydialunchnickcave. Words
grab you there and take you to this cold raw world you love so much.
The very dark side of you, where you heart lies naked. Words are
important, all she's saying is true. Beware, nobody gets out of
.Kat Bjelland. @ So What! Nov 12th.
...or the selling out of our dreams. Kill our idols, they had
warned us, bumping into our disbelief or our blind, comfortable
faith (3 different words for the same lie...). I should have remembered
this as I walked into So What! on the 12th of November to see Katastrphy
Wife. Kat Bjelland had been the front singer guitarist of Babes
in Toyland, band which had quite a big part in the punkgrunge explosion
of the beginning of the nineties.... and on all the grrrls' liberating
imagery. I had seen her once before as KW and already wasn't too
impressed. She had played at Ladyfest Glasgow in 2001 and was shockingly
defensive on the girls in music subject. Her speech had the tones
of the patriarchal discrediting of an hysterical and useless feminism.
I mean, where is sexism in our civilised and evolved society, I
am asking you, gender liberated brothers and sisters? I gave it
another try because it was quite pleasing and refreshing to hear
this Babes in Toyland sound again. Besides Kat is a true she-rock
performer on stage, a tiny energy bomb on a Rickenbacker, screaming
with revulsed eyes half swallowing the microphone. A good concert
facing an almost motionless crowd. Very few people, either they
were trusting their instinct, didn't know about the band or just
forgot to show up....I mean, it was the first day of snow after
all...The magic worked on stage, although there was nothing special
about it. It was, I thought even a bit too predictable, but I might
be growing old.... Things got worse when we met her backstage for
an interview.... Yes, I was disappointed. She wants to live of her
music, which is totally fair,
but what she's ready to give away is less decent... A band that
doesn't exist anymore and a riot grrl movement that praised her
inspirational talent, but to which BiT never really belonged. Worst,
miss Kat politely avoids difficult women issue such as separatism,
women festivals, feminism, and above all queerism. She still has
the same energy on stage but plays an all too Babes in Toyland sound
to be sincere. I hope she's still Laughing Her Head Off, though...
.múm.@John Dee. Sunday Nov 17th
The band starts from silence and builds it up into sounds. The beat
starts and there was life. Six people on stage, slowly moving around,
using this and that instrument to add texture to a jewel-like sound.
The music is so intimist you could be watching the band rehearse,
smiling or crying to them, letting your feelings run loose.
.Radio 4 / The Faint, SoWhat Mon Nov 25th
This goes out to all the people who missed out---missed out
big time! Two bands in one night, both with their own distinct,
new sound. A sound that somehow reminds you of all the stuff you
loved from the 80's; Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, The Clash &
Gang Of Four are all names that spring to mind. Couple these influences
with the good part of all the crappy synthesizer bands around at
the time & you get close to what these two bands are all about.
Radio 4, the more "punkier" of the two open the show and
have some trouble getting the small crowd going until they play
their single "Dance To The Underground" which has been
supported by P3 for a month or two now. Not from lack of enthusiasm
though... The Faint come on with a touch more of early Depeche Mode
and The Cure feel (&look) to their set and are what finally
gets the small Monday-night crowd dancing & shouting for more.
So, be warned: Check out their latest albums and wise up next time
they come to town... Radio 4: Gotham The Faint: Danse Macabre
.X-Lover.@ So What! Wednesday Nov 27th
Who cares about the New York scene when you have such a band in
neighbourhood? Everything in this band is what we've been dreaming
of: the music, the lyrics, the stage presence, the DIY outfits,
the guitars that split into two pieces :) Ladies and gentlemen,
here comes real punk!