Autumn concerts

I’ve recently been to few concerts here in Oslo and I don’t feel like making individual reviews for each of them. So let’s make some bulk review.

The autumn season in Oslo, for me, started with the farewell tour concert of the Norwegians from Theatre of Tragedy. The night was opened by Zensor, a Norwegian dark industrial (according to their myspace) band that indeed, seemed to have put a lot of effort into their music and be very disciplined. Yet, too synthesised for my taste. So I’m glad we only caught few of their songs. I’m also glad it was ToT’s farewell tour. I haven’t heard their music since their albums back in 2000 or so, and I was hoping they’d play some of their old hits. Which they did (Lorelei, Cassandra, Der Tanz Der Schatten) and that was really delightful for the crowd – which included people who traveled from abroad to see them live. By the way, really disappointing to see that there’s so much space in a small venue like John Dee for a farewell concert. Yet, they were enough to be enthusiast about the concert, to scream at times and sing along if they knew the lyrics. I guess that many didn’t show up because they don’t like ToT without Liv Kristine and some in the audience might have hoped for her appearance on stage. Which didn’t happen. The girl who sang the female vocals is not a bad singer overall, yet, I kept looking at this video and realise how much few beers can change your auditive perceptions, as she seemed much better than she actually did. This is truly one of those concerts where I went just for the sake of saying ‘yea, I saw them live’ and that’s exactly what it will stay for me. The night had a funny ending though since we found a hedgehog right in front of my building and my good hearted friend, Helge, took it to the Botanical Garden, on his way home.

Few days afterwards I finally get to see an individual concert (it’s only been festivals until now) of the brits from Anathema. They played at Rockefeller, which surprised me knowing that they had already played in Oslo many times and they can’t expect so many people to show up. Indeed, there was enough crowd to sort of fill the area in front of the stage, but the venue closed the access to the top floors. We got to hear one song from the first opener, Petter Carlsen and then enjoyed about half an hour of an amazing voice coming from Anneke van Giersbergen (ex The Gathering). She played the keyboards or the guitar herself, had guests on her corner of the stage (a woman whose name I don’t recall and Daniel Cavanagh of Anathema with whom she has released an album). She played heavenly. I totally love her voice. And her songs are quite sweet, so I was happy to listen to her album after the concert. But I admit that more than half an hour of that music live is hardly bearable.

Anathema came on stage quite quickly after Anneke finished singing. Last time I saw them, they started their setlist with a cover of Kashmir. Now it was time for ‘Thin Air’, first song of their latest album, ‘We’re here because we’re here’. Actually, during their performance, that luckily lasted well over 2 hours, they performed the entire album, combined with songs from previous albums, of course. They didn’t lack ‘hits’ like Empty, A Natural Disaster, Destiny, Flying, as for the come back after really loud applauses from the crowd, Danny came on stage and performed ‘Are you there?’ just himself and his guitar. Then we’ve been told the names of the next two songs, One last goodbye and Fragile Dreams and the last one made the crowd go insane. You can easily see they’re a band with a lot of live experience. They know how to show their joy of being on stage, can get the crowd to clap and cheer for them. Vincent’s voice is lovely, he plays both electric and his acoustic guitar (wearing a Jack Daniels writing on it) with great skillsand the sound in Rockefeller was just perfect for their music. The only downside were the choice of some very slow songs towards the end of the list, songs that were not that popular and during which I noticed some people yawning. Else, they were there because they played some great stuff for us. I found the concert’s setlist here. I managed to get some vids which you can find on youtube.

I missed the Tristania and Vulture Industries the day after Anathema, but few days later I got an invitation to another concert at John Dee – Red Sparowes. I had no idea who they were, tried to listen a little on Spotify but got caught into work and couldn’t pay attention. They had an opening by the name of Head Of Wantastiquet. It was a one man show. Initially he played a banjo (on which he used the violin bow at times). That was somehow interesting. But then he picked up his electric guitar, and the music was a suite of the hand going down the guitar chords then the echo repeating the sound. Again and again. Occasionally voice that sounded like part of a byzantine church choir. Zzzz. A friend that I met there said he was actually sleeping during that. Red Sparowes is a Los Angeles post-rock band with members from Isis, Halifax Pier, Angel Hair and Pleasure Forever. They’re quite experimental and love to play with the tons of pedals displayed all over the scene. The bassist also played the keyboards, one of the guitarists took the bass or he played a keyboard like thingy with strings for which he needed some metal rings on his fingers. No idea what you call that. One of the guitarists was a girl and she did some nice solos. And the 3rd guitarist used quite a variety of effects and that was a tad too much, especially when they were getting really noisy. But the drummer. Wow. Really good at quickly switching rhythms and playing even some asymmetric ones as it seemed. And also able to continuously hit all over the drum kit so you get a variety of sounds. Good and talented musicians altogether, not the catchiest music for me though. The comments I heard around me from the crowd were in the range of ‘Wow’ and ‘Fy fæn’ (Norwegian common saying used in all circumstances).


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