Monday, September 28, 2015

Høstsabbat- Betong, Oslo, Norway Sept 24-25th, 2015

It has been many years since I spent a weekend in Oslo.. ØSC played there back in 2007 and I saw WE play there a few times but have only ever been passing through the last many years. I was staying with my friend Rune and really look forward to see some of these bands and play with Black Moon Circle. Three of the bands at the festival, this is to be their last shows ever (Buckaduzz, Virus and ?), so this is quite a special two day event. A few Swedish bands, Yuri Gagarin and The Graviators, Spelljammer, and New Keepers of the Water Towers and a few from other countries, bands like Joy (US), Age of Taurus (UK), Bezelbong (Poland), and Death Alley (Holland)… It will be fun..

Day 1

Rune and I met some of his dedicated concert going music fans at the Oslo Mikrorbryggeri for a beer and then we headed back to the venue, which is in the basement of the University student union building. They have a bar upstairs so we met some others, had another beer and some pretty cheap food (for Oslo). The doors were a little late in opening so all bands were about 10-15mins late.
 The first band was a fairly new Norwegian band called Captain Kill. A three piece with some really intense bass and drums..  The bass player sang.. They were hard to watch though as they only had white lights blasting directly out at you all the time. The light guy tried to mix in some dynamics but it was just far to bright nearly all the time and forced me further back in the room. Only about 25 people at this time.. Next up was a great Dutch band called Death Alley. Maybe 50 people now but they totally rocked the place. A bit like a slightly more stoner rock version of Brutus! They did some cool jamming and a great cover of the song Motorhead….  This was a band that really gave 100%. Singer, all the band were totally rocking and into it. You just got sucked into the energy and lots of great guitar solos.. Fucking great…
Death Alley
Set List: Over Under, Black Magick Boogieland, The Fever, Motorhead, Stalk Eyed, Supernatural..

Next up was a special young band called MOE. Nothing to do with the popular American band. They were a three piece with a small female vocalist who also played the bass.  They had a very punky guitar and drummer and mixedup sometimes Slayer like stuff with crazy punky rock and then slowed it down and the guitar player played some synth drone stuff and the guitar at the same time. IT was wild and crazy and the singer, she had this really cool voice..  very spooky and evil at times.. That was a really fun show. I spoke with her later and told her that if they ever came to the USA to play (She has relatives in the bay area), they might have problems as there is a really popular band in the US called Moe.. It would be a bit like an American band coming to Norway and touring as Motorpsycho…

Set List: Before/Burn Down, Tungvals, Nox, Tephra, No Noise, ?, Ny Pønk

Now back to the small Klubb stage for Spelljammer. This is a Swedish band that I have a tape and one LP from but they rarely ever play live so I was looking forward to this.  They played 4 tracks in about 40mins of pretty SLEEP inspired Doom stuff. The sound man was great for all the bands… A pretty massive sound. I liked them best when they deviated from the SLEEP style doom guitar riff and took the Doom music in another direction. The guitar player played some pretty cool guitar solos but never really took me to the next level, just when he seemed like he could or might, we went back into the riff.. Anyway, I enjoyed it and despite it being 20 now, there were still less than 100 people, I guess. It is a big complex and you can probably have 1000 in here so maybe there were more scattered about but that is about all that saw the band.. probably less.
Set List: Bathfinder, Meadow, Borlung, Aun’s Mountain

JOY, a California band was next on the big stage and I was looking forward to hear these guys. They have a new record out on Tee Pee in the USA and this was the 25 concert in 25 days for them so they were pretty stoked to be in Norway. They played about 6 songs of really jamming blues stuff but by the 4th song of really high energy (Cactus on steroids and speed) blues rock with just crazy high speed ripping guitar solos every song, I needed a change and finally it came with an amazing track called Confusion with a drum solo, long slower slide guitar section that highlighted the bands skills.. It was a cool concert but sometimes a bit over the top and too much the same..

Set List: ?, ?, Evil, Confusion, Miles Away

Yuri Gagarin from Sweden were on in the Klubb stage again and had a projector with some images but since it was projected on a black curtain, you hardly could see anything. They played nearly in the dark, which was a nice change from the fucking bright white lights. The guy had experimented a bit with some blue and red lights from the side but still the lighting was awful for every band. Anyway, it is about the music and Yuri was a fucking powerful wall of sound and this was the most intense and into audience of the day. People packed in close and really into the spaced out sound. Sadly, as in Copenhagen, the lead guitar player was way too low for 20mins of the concert. His amp is just too low on the stage compared to the others so you can’t hear him at all if you are in the front and the sound guy in the back did not know what was missing until I told him and he pushed the guitar fader to the top but it was still hardly enough due to the low stage volume of his amp. By the end of the show, he figured away and the last two songs sound like the band is supposed to sound and awesome.. Cool band. IT was the same set as in Copenhagen but they played one new song they did not at the CPH show. They had the new 7” record which the very cool bass player gave me a copy. If the sound had been perfect it would have been my favorite show but I was too distracted and trying to give the sound guy some advice… which in the end made it great… Nice guys in this band and such a powerful wall of sound live.. Intense space rock. Super intense.. Sorry, no foto as it was too dark. 

Set List: Sonic Invasion, Cluster of Minds, New Order, Sea of Dust, At the Center, Oblivion

One last band and that was very strange stuff. VIRUS, a Norwegian three piece of bass, drums , and guitar (who did spoken word vocals in a style like Manilla Road). He sat on a stool and played this very dry clean guitar tone and very simple chords, he came across as not very skilled to me, but I am sure that is not the case and this was just the way the music was supposed to be.. but the drummer and bass player played like they were in Primus and then this guitar and vocal that was like in completely different world from what they were doing was just so strange and far out.. The crowd was about 60 people left now and they all more or less stayed as did I but I am not sure I got what they do. Very unique band. Never heard anything quite like that..  I think this was to be their last show ever or something.. Bizzare..

Set List: Phantom Oil Slick, Be Elevator, Afield, Rogue Fossil, Dead Cities of Syria, Investigator, Dripping into Orbit, Steamer, Road, Stalkers of the Drift

Day 2

We got home about 01:00 in the evening after a great night. Met so many cool Norwegian people and spoke with the cool guys in Joy and Moe and Death Alley and Yuri Gagarin, etc….  Only slept til about 8:30 this morning though so hope I will not be too tired later. I really hope that people show up earlier and more people come today as I play with Black Moon Circle at 16 and Ocean Dweller are on at 15. Based on yesterday, I would expect to play for 20 people today. We will see..  A bill with 6 Norwegian bands, one UK, two from Sweden and one from Poland!

We arrived about 14 and there were hardly any people about. The BMC equipment was here but no band.  The café upstairs was closed and Rune was desperate for a drink to cure his hangover but he had to wait.. We had a back stage room that was small for all the bands on the Klubb stage so I left my coat in there. There was free beer for all the bands, which was good.
Ocean Dweller
 Ocean Dweller was the first band at 15 and probably played for about 40 people. A bit more than the first band yesterday. They were tight and powerful metal band with dual guitars and a singer a bit like Matt Pike from High on Fire.. Music was a bit similar. No guitar solos, just tons of heavy riffing. Crowd like them and they really rocked but it was not my kind of music, I need to focus my head on our own concert, which was next.

Set List: Scorpion, Harakari, Toolrån ki, Sidst, Fields of Green., Buried, Gastro

Black Moon Circle (backstage)- Pic by Simon
The Black Moon Circle concert was great. We played 4 songs in about 50mins. The band before finished at 15:45 and we only had 10mins by the time they had their stuff off the stage to set up and play but it took us 20mins. We had to stop at 17.. We opened with American Eagle and immediately when Øyvin’s first deep bass note hit, my beers flipped over and flooded the whole area around me. Great way to start.. So I was a little distracted at the beginning..  Plains was when we really started to fly and get into the groove.. Jack’s Cold Sweat we had a long space intro and Øyvin and I were looking closely at each other as I created more and more spacey stuff and then we headed into the track. Very cool.. rest of the band were following brilliantly.. We skipped Machine on the Hill and went for Andromeda, which I only play on the last half. Vemund was awesome again on the guitar and the crowd as very engaged and got a great show….

You can hear the show here..

Next was the first band on the main stage, Buckaduzzz, but I hardly saw any of them, as I had to pack up all my own stuff, and sort of come down for my own gig with BMC but what I did see was really cool. A sort of Black Sabbath stoner rock, psychedelic jammy vibe to them.. Damn.. I heard they were great from Rune. It had the same drummer and guitar player in Hymn and this was their last concert ever.  

Faust Coven
Faustcoven were next on the small stage and I missed them except for less than one song but the guitar player was nice and had a cool Cirith Ungol shirt on. We had to get some food.

Alwanzantar, which is a solo side electronic music project from the synthesizer player from Spectral Haze was setting up in the Glassbaren, resteraunt. He had a lot of cool old synths (ARP Oddessy, Korg MS20 mini, theremin, effects pedals, reel to reel tape, midi keyboard (no computer that I could see) and other things. He would start in 30mins and play for a couple of hours..  We had some burgers and then went back down and saw New Keepers of the Water Towers from Sweden. There was a bit more than 150 people now, which was good.  They had a great front of house sound and started off with the singer/guitarist alone and he hit the GONG and then started some stuff with his MOOG tarurus pedal set up as slowly the other guys in the band came onto the stage. They said they would have a new album out in March next year and they played one new song called Trouble over Carcusa and it was instrumental. It was a really good show. They are a very interesting band, a bit hard to describe.. layer melodic, prog doomy… Cool stuff..
New Keepers of the Water Towers

Set List: Pyre for the Red Sage, Trouble over Carusa, Visions of Death, The Great Leveller.

HYMN was next and a doom duo with just guitar and drums and very intense vocals. The room was the most full for any band I had seen the entire festival in the smaller stage.  Some people said this was the best concert but for me, I find just guitar riffs, cool drumming and vocals not really enough. For a few songs I can dig it and be engaged but I start to really need more than that, as you are so limited with heavy doom riffing and drums…. Even though it was not for me, people loved it and they seem to have a great show..

We went out for some air so the BMC guys could smoke and heard some of Alawanzatar in the bar. That was really cool stuff. I wonder if he has made any albums?? Sadly, it was so dark, I could not take any pictures that were any good. This foto from the soundcheck. 

Age of Taurus, a UK band from the Rise Above Label, played a heavy rocking set of classic 80s sounding metal stuff. The one guitar player had the most amazing long hair, well below his waist.  I had a fun at this gig and was able to get into but they did not do any jamming or long guitar solos but they had solid hard rocking songs and good attitude and delivered a good rocking show…  I think they only played one new song, which surprised me since their record is a few years old now.

Set List: Always in the Eye, Unborn Destroyer, A Rush of Power, Sinking City, The Bull and the Bear, Walk with Me, The walls have Ears, Desperate Souls

The Graviators were the last band on in the Klubb scene before it would become the night disco. I loved these guys at Heavy Days in Doomtown and was really looking forward to see them again. I talked with them for a while in the backstage and they are such nice people. They even gave me a shirt.. They had a really good crowd but not as big as Hymn and totally rocked the place.. What a great mix of Black Sabbath style riffs and sometimes vocals, stoner rock, 70s rock and great guitar solos, powerful bass and drums. The bass player uses a wah pedal quite a lot which is pretty unique. They played mostly songs from their last record and opened with Storm of Confusion if I recall correctly. I was rocking out with Vemund and Øyvin from Black Moon Circle , who did not know this band at all.  Great concert, probably my favorite of the festival.

Set List:  Storm Of Creation, Narrow Minded Bastards , Tigress Of Siberia, Bed Of Bitches
Leifs Last Breath / Dance Of The Valkyrie, Drowned In Leaves, Druid's Ritual, Feelin' Low
The Graviators
The last band of the night was the Polish instrumental doom/sludge band, Belzebong. This was far out.. Just 80 mins of really heavy stoned doom riffing with the occasional usually very far out guitar solo part and then back into the heavy riffing. The bass player and rhythm guitar seem to play nearly the same thing and throw their bodies into the same bent over rhythm for every song… They got a lot of good back exercise.. This was must for very stoned or drunk people and if you let yourself just go with the flow and not think too much about it, they were pretty cool but it was more or less the same song over and over again with minor changes..  The light guy had a really cool green light with lots of fog for the entire show and it looked cool but he hardly varied it at all.  The light people were very disappointing at this festival but the bands all delivered the goods. 

We hung out in the bar, where Walter from Roadburn was supposed to DJ but he was sick so Robert and his friends from Spectral Haze filled in. The sound was not that good though as the turntables that they were provided with did not work so they had to play streamed music which was hard on the ears but most people hanging out here were pretty drunk or in the bands.. It was fun though and I talked with a lot of cool people bouncing between tables and chatting with different people I knew and some I did not. Great little festival.. Would be honred to come back and play or DJ… Good job to Jens and the organizers.. Thanks to Kai for help with the set lists and Rune, my awesome host! 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Copenhagen Psych Festival Huset, Copenhagen Oct 10-12th, 2015

Solens Folk
This was a three day event once again but at a different location. Logistically it was quite crazy for the booker Kasper to work with the people at Huset and pull it all together. Sue and I arrived around 18 on Thursday and the first band we saw was a group called Solens Folk (The Sun People), which features the drummer, guitar player and bass player from Måneskjold (Moon Shield). IT was a strange mix of spoken word stuff (with a guy wearing an old Army helmet), heavy doomy stuff to totally spaced out soundscapes with just using the guitar and bass pedals and small keyboard. Pretty cool actually. Met my friend Rune from Oslo there. The schedule had changed a bit with times and bands so we had keep looking at the new one.

Red Lama
Red Lama was a 7 piece Danish band with hand drums, synth, lead vocals, two guitars, bass and drums. The opening track the singer sounded a lot like the Jim Morrison, the style, not the voice and the song was pretty cool. We only saw the next 2-3 songs and it became more melodic and standard 80s inspired rock music. It was not for us.

Duncan McKnight and Friend
We caught a couple of songs of an American living in Copenhagen, named Duncan McKnight. He seemed kind of stoned or drunk, a small guy but we was really passionate about his songs. A female lady who occasionally banged an empty plastic bottle on the chair for percussion accompanied him. It was quite a small crowd for most of the acts in the Analog Bar. They seem to be enjoying themselves. 

Papir played an amazing 75 mins set with at least one new song called Syre Rock (Acid Rock), where Nicklas played some really cool guitar. I don’t think I have seen the band for over a year and they still are amazing. The first part of the show was perhaps some more dreamy stuff but then they really got some energy. IT was super hot in the Haut. Temperature will be a problem. Very packed and people were into it.

Dune Messiah
Back at the Analog Bar for Dune Messiah, which was one guy with an electric guitar playing some of his songs. Nothing special and only about 15 people. We arrived at the 1st Floor to check out Kogekunst. I have seen this crazy duo twice before and they always put on an amazing performance. These two guys are totally mad, but so passionate about the art rock they make. Small drum kit, guitars, French horn, Novation synth and whatever else they can find, they play it, smash, trash, but sting together, have a groove, a beat…. Far out and what a blast.. Cool stuff.

Lorenzo from Baby Woodrose was playing a solo acoustic show in the main hall, Haut but it was totally packed and they limit the number of people inside so we could not get in. We just had a breather before Den Stora Vilan from Sweden. This was a really great band and we saw the entire concert before going up to see White Hills. My friend Silvana from Berlin had arrived.  Anyway, they were a four piece with two guitars, bass and drums. One of the guitar players and bass player sang lead vocal. The drummer also sang backing vocals. They sounded a lot  like early Wishbone Ash. The program said the Grateful Dead but they were not that laid back and bluesy. We quite enjoyed them… A decent crowd as well. 
Den Stora Vilan
Set List: Disney, G-Takt, I Morgen, Stöloen, Anton, Domino, Geoiginte au,  Det vi ej Förstår, Rock Låten,  Drömmen Iprack

Now you had to chose between White Hills in the hot main hall or Sonic Dawn in the Analog bar or Nils Gröndhal on the 1st floor. Clearly, most people chose to go home, as it was 23:45 on Thursday or go to the other shows, as there was only about half a full room for White Hills. I had played with White Hills the last two times they were in Copenhagen but it was quite hectic for them coming in late from Berlin, not a very organized staff at the venue, etc. so it was not going to happen this time. Anyway, the band had rearranged the set and added a couple of different tracks from the last tour in April. The opened with a long extended opening for Radiate to open the show and then into Lead the Way. It was nice to hear In Your Room from the previous record (not the new one), which they did not play any songs from on the April tour. Then we got the 4 new songs, Let the Right, LSD or USB, No Will and Automated City. Dave takes off his guitar for two of these tracks and Ego and Rodney lay down the heavy groove so Dave can sing, rap, play this synth and sampler. He really gives it all…  The show ended with the amazing and spacey Don’t be Afraid and Pads of Light. No encore and in fact the audience quickly left giving them little time to even tries to sell any merch. Actually, seems a pity they don’t have a proper merch area for the bands, as this is how they make some money, especially the Danish bands that play for nearly nothing.  Anyway, that was the end and White Hills killed it. They are such a powerful and amazing band, giving 200% every night and really a league ahead of all the rest of the bands that played. Hard to compete with this. They deserve to be the headline band and to have the room totally packed.
White Hills
Day 2

A lot of amazing bands are playing today and the first gig ever in Denmark by Vibravoid, who I met briefly last night as we were leaving the venue at 01:30 in the morning. I am quite tired today and hope to have the energy to see Yuri Gagarin at 01:15 in the morning. I have to leave the festival and go pick up Black Moon Circle at the airport at 21:10 and then we will all come back and hopefully catch some of Vibravoid, Hills, Goibia….. Goibia and Vibravoid overlap, which is kind of silly they did not split this up.. Anyway..

Sue and I arrived about 17:50 and went straight up to the Musikcafeen to soundcheck with Måneskjold. Things were a little behind and trouble with the drum sound but I got all my stuff set up on the side off the stage as there was no room on the stage.  I played on the first song and then I joined again after 3 songs for Bilspil and Dødsdrom. Then they decided to play a new song that I had never heard and Kasper said to keep playing. They got a good response from the audience and I think I did cool stuff on Bilspil and Dødsdrom but was not so happy about the first song. We see what the recording sounds like.
Bellhound Choir

Moongazing Hare
We caught a few songs of Bellhound Choir, which was Kristian from Pet the Preacher with a violin accompaniment. I had seen him sound before and liked it. This was a bit different. They had a 12” EP out now. Not many people watching them, which was the fate of a lot of the small bands, the Danes are very social so they all sit outside and smoke and only go see the bands that they really know. It was also insanely hot inside the building.. There were even fewer people in the Analog Bar for Moongazing Hare, an interesting outfit playing according, tibetan bowls, plucked guitar, and synths..  We saw about half the Black Lizard show. This is a Finnish band that was a lot like Brian Jonestown Massacre with a bit of hypnotic Wooden Shjips through in…  They had two guitar players but neither one of them played any real solos. A few small freakouts but mostly just rhythmic guitar. Crowd like it..

Black Lizard
I now had to run to the airport and pick up the Black Moon Circle guys and come back. That went smoothly but it was 50mins from the time the plane landed before they came out of the customs. I had last seen them in Trondheim 1 and half years ago but it was like old friends meeting yesterday. Great guys..

Anyway, saw the last 30 seconds of Vibravoid and found Sue with my friend Silvana outside their show, where it was cooler.  Seems Vibravoid had a great show and the room was pretty full. So hot!  We next went downstairs and saw the Hills. That was a fantastic show and they played for about 65mins. Really awesome bass player and female tribal drummer. They give the others the room to totally space out. My friend Sven even did some spoken words early on in the set. He had done this before as well. Cool concert but so hot in that room..

Baby Jesus was rocking out and people were dancing but it was loud, hot and the sound pretty harsh in the 1st Floor Elevation room.  Fribyttedrømme was filled up so we could not get in. Sue was a bit disappointed as we had such a great time at the show last time. I ran into Fredrik, one of the guys filming and taking pics and he said it was great and Lau got the audience to lie on the floor and that was great. Pity we missed it. 

Yuri Gagarin
Last band of the night for us was Yuri Gagarin. I had seen them a couple of years ago. They will have a new 7” out in a few weeks but did not have it yet. Not sure if they played new stuff as it all sounded like one massive wall of bass, guitar, drums and a few synths sounds and wind floating over the top. The lead guitar player that gives the band the melody, and creates the focus of the songs was so low you could not hear him at all unless you were in the front. I tried to tell him he had to turn up but he was as loud as it could go he said, so there must have been a problem with the cabinet. Anyway, no one could hear him in the room. Pity as it ruined their show. It all sounded like the same song over and over without his parts. Very powerful band.

Set List: Sonic Invasion, Oblivion. Sea of Dust, New Order, Turkish Big RIP

By the time we got home it was 2:45. Damn late and I was tired.

Day 3

11:00 Up again but need more rest if I am to play well today. Most of the others are still asleep.  We don’t play with BMC until 23:20 tonight, so need to conserve ourselves. I might play with Syreregn also..  Thor sent an SMS and he would like me to play on 2-3 songs.

The Orange Grove
 Set List for Orange Grove: Ladybird>Jam, When the Sun>Milk and Honey, California Night, Desert Mind, Blue Soul, Dreaming

19:00 We arrived a bit late today and missed Skifting, which I wanted to see. We saw the first 4-5 songs of the Grateful Dead inspired The Orange Grove, a new Danish band with three guitars plus pedal steel. The steel player also played some keyboards.  IT was nice music but they never took their songs to the next level and despite having three guitar players solos were very rare or they were like 10 seconds long…  Saw a few minutes of Tidebound (Dave and friends) playing dark acoustic music.  I now had to go prepare for playing with Syreregn in the basement Analog Bar. I think this was the 5th time I played with the band. Nice to see Thor, Rasmus and Jacob again. The bar was really crowded for Syreregn and it was fun to play on some of these tracks I played on the record. Mathias also joined on bongo for the first two more spacey tracks. It was a difficult sound for me on the stage but I tried to manage. I think we played a great show of psychedelic blues rock and straight up blues rock. Great band. The audience loved it and wanted more.. 

Set List: Marana Tha, Skabt værk Består, Sol over Rejkevik, Hypnokongen, Time the Time, Tag  solen Ned

Now I had to get all my gear back upstairs to play with Black Moon Circle in a few hours. Causa Sui was next and this was their first gig in Denmark in 2 years. I had spoken with the guys in the band in the garden and they were all in a great mood. They have a new bass player that moment, while Jess is busy taking care of his 2nd child, who was recently born. I loved the concert but I could only see the first 40mins or so and then I had to go set up.

Set List: Juice, Homage, Grunge (new song, just a working title), Jn-Jn, Red Valley, El Fuego

Causa Sui
The Black Moon Circle concert was well attended and we played excellent. It was all songs from the first two records but quite long jammed out versions at times. These 5 tracks was about an hour. Vemund was killing it on the guitar! I felt inspired and had a great time. The modular was not packed in a really good way and I had no time to figure it out so I was limited…. The jamming in Machine on the Hill and Andromeda was amazing. This is a band that has a great interaction between the musicians and is able to take one of their normal songs out into the stratosphere! 

Black Moon Circle
Set List: Plains, American Eagle, Jack’s Cold Sweat, Machine on the Hill, Andromeda

There were so many other cool bands playing this day but there was no time to see Indian Jewelry, Oracles (Germany), Madman’s Moustache (Sweden), and De Underjordiske, Catch the Breeze….

It was a great festival but running up and down all these flights of stairs, the Musikcafeen and Haut, being over 30C inside, was pretty tough so a lot of people just hung out in the garden and only went and saw a few bands, which was good as there was not enough space in these rooms for everyone anyway. The event was sold out and great weather outside and the vibe and decorations were fantastic. Kasper Fjord, the booker, did a great job to pull this all together and his mostly volunteer staff also worked pretty well. Nearly all bands were on time and all went pretty well. Let’s see if they do it another place next year. Next CPH Psych fest event is Nov 20th with Øresund Space Collective and Kungens Mand (Sweden)..