Motorpsycho live@Byscenen, Trondheim

I attended concerts in quite many cities, but I never had the chance to experience the Norwegian crowd and atmosphere as far up North as Trondheim, and what a better way to start with that than the local rockers from Motorpsycho and their psychedelic show. So, a lovely mid March evening brings me to Byscene, a nice and cozy concert venue that offered – as far as I noticed – good quality conditions for the concert.

The warm up was an enjoyable moment delivered by the local female fronted garage-punkers, from Blomst, singing in Norwegian and being full of energy, which made them easily loved by the audience. They had plenty of fun when they sang a song about indians and cowboys and got the crowd to do the ‘awawawawawawawawa!’ with the palms over their mouths. A quick stage cleaning and then the silence in the speakers together with the darkness announced that the next show is about to begin. It was obvious from that point that it’s not going to be just a simple regular rock performance, but rather an extreme experience. The drums were placed on the right on the stage, one side facing the crowd, giving you the chance to follow (if eyes allow) the way Kenneth Kapstad puts his grooves together. On the left side of the stage, there was a Hammond organ which was meant for Ståle Storløkken (Supersilent, Elephant9, Humcrush, Terje Rypdal), one of Norway’s best organ players or keyboardists. As a matter of fact, he is the one who initially composed “The Death Defying Unicorn” and then it got re-arranged to be released as a Motorpsycho double CD, discs on which man also gets to hear other great Norwegian artists like Ola Kvernberg or ensembles such as Trondheimsolistene and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra.

Once the main venue lights turned off, the spinning back lights started dancing on the curtains and set the mood for what was to come. The band came on stage wearing rather peculiar outfits: sparkly velvet pants, some sort of shiny cape, velvet embroidered top, while Ståle Storløkken opted for a white bath(?) robe, whose hoodie he wore over his head during the time he stood up and sang some vocal parts. By the end of the show it actually felt like I was witnessing some magicians in action and the feeling of ‘grandioso’ was well enhanced by Hans Magnus Ryan’s double neck guitar.

It’s hard to tell in words what happens, music wise, during a Motorpsycho concert. Especially as I was not used with the material they played. They always have a huge ‘WTF’ factor as rhythms happen to change so suddenly, not giving you time to decide whether it was the way it always sounded on the album or it’s another live improvisation. The band doesn’t excel in the vocal parts, so luckily those are scarce. But then there’s such a blending of long guitar sounds and effects, almost ear killing, that are suddenly stopped to make room for beautiful solos, while the bass boldly keeps up – or does a very good job at trying at least. It’s actually fun to watch how the bassist, Bent Sæther, keeps a close eye on the guitarist in an attempt to guess what comes next and then tries to somehow quickly communicate with the drummer too. And even funnier to see the look of the guy behind keys who is probably not as familiar with the Motorpsycho live style and seemed to have pretty wide puzzled eyes at times.

Once the album was done playing, the band received well deserved applauses from a crowd who seemed full of excitement and who got the band back on stage for an encore. The choice to end the show with ‘Starhammer’ and ‘Burn’, a Deep Purple cover, unleashed even more madness and energy among the audience and I’m more than satisfied to have experienced the local Trondheim band on their home ground.

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