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! 


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