ØRKENKJØTT – Oslo – John Dee
Two days after I get so impressed by the opening act that I wish the headliner would stop playing and have the first band come back on stage again, I get to witness another fantastic opening performance. This time it’s about the Norwegian quintet ‘Domene’ who played as support band for the Ørkenkjøtt release concert in Oslo, at John Dee. It’s a band formed of 4 girls (vocals, bass+keybords, drums and guitar) and one dude on guitar, but for this concert they had support from another girl on cello.
The performance started with few minutes of mainly spoken words in any yet unidentified language, but enough to make you feel the power and intensity of the singer’s voice. Then they delivered 40 minutes of explosive rock’ish music that as much as I’d love to even suggest a similar style or band, I simply can’t. Hence I got an intense feeling of originality which led to a lot of respect for the band, as it’s not often bands manage this today. There was a tad of goth, especially when the cello would speak in its low-toned language, or a bit of prog rock, folk or epic elements, hardly hints of metal, somewhat stoner metal I’d dare to say, and when not metal one can think of pop… Well, if you have the right name for this mix, please let me know. It took a while to get used to the feeling of ‘I’ve never heard this before’, but it was very enjoyable. And instead of saying again how I can’t describe the band’s music too well, I guess the fairest thing to do it to tell you to check them out on their myspace at http://www.myspace.com/domenemusic.
The curtains were pulled in the break between bands, hence the Ørkenkjøtt concert got a bit of a mysterious aura, especially after I had noticed some interesting light placement in front of the drums, a small camel over some object on the stage, carpets on the floor and an extra small set of percussion, covered with a camel-patterned clothing. The mystery lingered for a little more than expected as they had a bit of a delay compared to the announced starting time. But once the curtains were pulled aside, the oriental rhythms would stop playing and you ignored the smoke on stage, you’d be presented with about eight people who made the John Dee stage feel even smaller than usual.
Ørkenkjøtt is a Norwegian band whose member mainly originate from Notodden, same place as other bands such as Leprous for example. That might be one of the reasons the guys collaborated with some of the Leprous members for this release and why two leprousians (Einar Solberg on keyboards and Tobias Ørnes Andersen on extra percussion) were present on stage. The third non Ørkenkjøtt member on stage was a sax player whose name I didn’t get, unfortunately. Other than that, the five young guys in the band are Knut Mikael Haukeland – Vocal, Simen Munthe-Kaas Rem – Guitar, Christian Grønli – Guitar, Håkon Vøllestad – Bass and Arne Steinar Myrvang – Drums. They played their concept album ‘Ønskediktet’ (Desire Poem) in full, and it was another fantastic discovery for this evening.
As far as my Norwegian language knowledge goes, the band’s name can be translated as Desert meat. No idea how they got inspired to use the term desert, yet they did try to create some old Arabian atmosphere on stage and few more palms and more band members wearing long dresses, and you’d probably feel like in an oasis. Occasionally the music would take you in the same direction, but mainly it was just messing with your brains. I personally love well placed oriental rhythms in rock/metal, so they get a big plus for managing that. The guys delivered a very refreshing high quality alternative/extreme rock/metal, yet they are overall impossible to classify so I’ll probably just agree with their own description ‘we play ørkenrock (desertrock)’.
You can check the quality and surprise in their music by purchasing their CD or streaming or whatever way you prefer to get sounds to your ears, but it won’t be half as fantastic as combined with the live energy of the guys. The singer put all he got in the intensity of the voice and used his theatrical skills to emphasise the dramatic moments of the performance or jumped bare footed when the faster and heavier rhythms demanded it. The guitar players didn’t seem to be aware of the expression ‘to stand still’, so they got easily loved by the crowd as they’d be do the main communication with the crowd through their solos mixed with adequate body poses, climbing on all possible monitors, hands shaking, beer cheering, etc. The peak of madness on stage was reached for the last song when both guitarists somehow changed axis and played while laying on the carpet, time at which the singer was on his knees in between them. It must be good music to provoke you to such an ending.
In conclusion, Ørkenrock rocks, big times and I’d love to see them again live at any time.