BERGENFEST 2012 – Dag 1 –
Bergenfest is an eclectic festival organized since 1994 and taking place mostly at Bergenhus Festning. The party started under a nice weather and ended up under the rain, with less than half of the tickets sold. On an European scale this is a small festival, the type of festival any European city over 50 000 inhabitants could and would have organized, at least for the Bergenhus-gigs. For Norway, I guess it’s something big, and its combination of open air and club-concerts make it somehow unique.
Billy Talent is a canadian hardcore influenced punk rock band from Ontario. They are band numero 8 on this first day and the first to fill up their venue. In the Bergenfest booklet this year, it says: "Hvor kommer disse fabelaktige trestemte koringene fra? Ja, og disse stadionstore rockeriffene med et snev av herlig punkattityde? Og ikke minst den slående meloditeften? Jo, det er nok Billy Talent fra Canada vi snakker om." It’s exactly what the band is. A band, three singers, catchy riffs, a good communication with the audience and a gig of fifty minutes that goes like mommy in daddy. The line up having been the same since 1993, the band is fitting perfectly together, and was a very good live surprise. 5/6
BILLY TALENT (Phono: Stig Pallesen)
The South hails from Trondheim. They are the first band I reach at Magic Mirrors, an art-nouveau mirror tent concept that goes around Europa for festivals, concerts, banquets, osv. It’s pretty and vintage, however the same can’t be said about the sound. Circular acoustics? Allo? The South are a born to late, and play a subtle music under country and general americana influences. The lyrics, too, revolve mostly around americana themes. The type of music you’ll have in your pick-up while driving throught the Southern States, and the type of band to absolutely see, but in an intimate setting (pub?) after a dozen of beers. They may grow big in the next years, and I fear they would lose some scenic magic if they play on bigger stages. See them when you can. 4/6
The Swedish came in force to Bergenfest this year and I had never heard Lars Winnerbäck before thursday. I stayed out of curiosity after reading that his band was mostly consisting of formers The Hellacopters members. And after hearing him, telling that he bought a suit to his on funeral, an umbrella in the hand. Umbrella that got quickly swapped with a guitar, and the magic began. For those who like me don’t know the band, "Lasse" is a songwriter balancing between folk and pop rock, and it’s obvious that would have grown even bigger if he had been born in the USA or in France. After a while, the constellation that is his band and his music in general are turns to a shy Winnerbäck for a song alone on the stage with his guitar. The gig was filmed live and the images on the giant screen on the back of the stage alternatively showed the audience, the band or video-clips.
LARS WINNERBÄCK (Photo: Stig Pallesen)
Lars Winnerbäck was to me one the highlights of the festival and one of my best concerts this year so far. The guy is a genius. He is talkative. He has style and charisma. His band backs him up perfectly. The Swedish languages fits marvellously the music. Reminds me of the French songwriters I grew up with (Renaud, Thiéfaine…), and those songs in your mothertongue that you will hardly forget. Who needs Dylan when you have your own Dylan at home? 6/6