An enjoyable weekend, which ended on a high despite occasional rain and headaches. Still feeling a bit tired, but here goes.
Like I said, it ended on a high. Love is All played for and charmed the few that had made their way from the festival camp down to John Dee on Saturday. Their live versions of the songs from "Nine Times that Same Song" were even better than on the record. They seemed surprised at the positive reaction from the audience, who danced throughout the set, as did Tim Harrongton from Les Savy Fav.
The Wrens were even better. Such energy. Such passion. As far as I can remember, they played the whole of the excellent "Meadowland", and even got a bunch of kids (including the seemingly omnipresent guy from Les Savy Fav) to provide extra ...erm...percussion. If you didn't get there, you missed out. Best gig of the weekend.
But earlier in the week...
...I saw the Brakes, who rocked despite some technical problems, and the charming but clichèd Shit City on the club gigs on Wednesday.
!!! (pronounce it how you will) played a groovy set, but I wish they'd have more songs of the same calibere as "Me and Giuliani Down By the Schoolyard", which they performed to excellence at Oya.
Mark E. Smith, Mr. Grumpy himself, was highly enjoyable. His umpteenth edition of the Fall provided more than enough umph to complement the songs, mostly from Fall Heads Roll plus a classic in the form of "Mr. Pharmacist". Mr. Smith himself stumbled around turning the amps up, and on one occasion turned off the guitarist's. Plus he kicked out at a camera man.
Les Savy Fav gave an inspired performance, even if Tim Harrington's on-and-off-stage antics initially meant he was too short of breath to sing. But the band had a solid groove and Harrington calmed down enough to augment them with his singing.
Marit Larsen is the best song writer in Norway right now, and her show was terrific. She played a blue-grassish version of the M2M classic "Don't Say You Love Me", and a charming cover of the Angels' "My Boyfriend's Back". Her topic of choice is falling in-and-out of love, and she treats it better than most.
What they lack in originality, the School more than makes up for with energy, humor and a few potential hits.
Morrissey was Morrissey, for better or worse. No banana this time, though.
The lack of quality urban (for lack of a better collective term) music. Last year they had Saul Williams and Roots Manuva on the bill. This year... Spank Rock doesn't rock me. And for all their admirable wishes to promote local artists, Norwegian rap has never been any good. Too hung up on Hip Hop's clichès, and no Norwegian rapper I've heard has the vocal skills nor writing skills to be of any interest to me.
Amadou & Maraim had to cancel their appearance due to sickness. Hope all is well, but a big disappointment. Could have been a highlight.
I didn't get in to see the Pipettes due to chaos in front of the venue.
Kieran Hebden and Steve Reid's set. Not bad, mostly uninterestingng. Could have been better.
The Knife. Had hopes, but they failed to be met. Ok-ish, nothing more.
Band of Horses. Their Ok songs drowned in the sunshine, and their not so ok songs barely
reached the front row.
The Cramps were a cartoon-version of their cartoon self. "TV Set" one of very few highlights of
Hot Chip. Not what their cracked up to be. Not on stage, not on record. Ok, nothing more.
The Liars, Midlake, and Black Mountain. Yawn.