BERGENFEST 2012 – Dag 3 –
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.
On Saturday, Lewis Floyd Henry came to Magic Mirrors with his drum-kit, his guitar and his crazy songs. The one man band goes around London Underground stations and European clubs with his gear filling a stroller or a shopping cart, and mostly mashes up heavy metal bands with The Wu Tang Clan. Literally. Musically, it gives something like if Jimi Hendrix, Zach de la Rocha and the Demigodz rappers were playing in the same band, except that it’s just one guy. Interesting. But he’s still a street-musician, like you find in at least one street of every big city. 4/6
Many came for Patti Smith. The average festival-goer suddenly took a few wrinkles and some kilos here, but there is still some young people in front of the main stage. We got a talkative and outspoken Patti Smith, eventhought she didn’t look in top form. The Godmother of Punk didn’t offer us her heaviest side which is in a way a shame in an open air, big setting, but delivered a more than honest set that the public apparently got satisfied with. 4.5/6
KYUSS LIVES! (Photo: Stig Pallesen)
The next band is more a cover band than anything else, but all new-members in Kyuss Lives! seem to be as good as the former ones, so who cares? For those who didn’t follow, Oliveri is now out for a while because of some wife-beating and action with the local SWAT, and is probably being somebody’s girlfriend as I’m writing. Alas, the concert will for me be at less crippled, at most totally wrecked. After a few minutes half of the bass guitar simply disappears and doesn’t come back before a whole song (apparent cabinet problem?) only to be that time way too loud. Bastionen having in my opinion a so-so sound since the beginning of the festival, this is not helping. At the same time I realize that the drum tech is entirely laying under the floor toms to hold the whole drumkit that seems to float dangerously and is about to tilt down from its pedestal. Add to this a totally locked down, static Garcia and not enough vocals in the mix, and you have a whole half of a set hardly appreciable, where only the bassist, Billy Cordell from Yawning Man, seems into it. Things got better during the second half-hour, but didn’t convinced me at all. What I saw last year at Hellfest was much better. 3/6
Turbonegro and Flogging Molly were two bands I was really looking forward to see again, as the last and only time for both was at FuryFest in 2005. For the retards out here, FuryFest was from 2003 to 2005 what is now know at Hellfest, the best open air heavy festival in Europe.
All day I’d heard a lot of shit about Turbonegro, praising Hank, torpedoing the Englishman, comparing bellies, tattoos, voice, drug addiction, etc. To make it quick and clear: Tony Sylvester is a better singer than Hank von Helvete. Some say he lacks style, but he just has a different vibe. I don’t want a Hank clone. What would be the point? Hank has never impersonated Turbonegro alone… That said, the concert was what anybody can expect of a Turbonegro concert: sweat, sex and rock’n’roll. The new songs The Nihilist Army og You Give Me Worms are not my cup of tea but Party Animals had back then to spin a lot in my stereo for me to get into it anyways. So we’ll see in some months how the album kicks in with me. I would have liked an extra 15 minutes and a few more older songs, especially Le Saboteur in francais dans le texte but as you all know, you can never trust an englishman… 5/6
Seeing a band with many members and try to catch up with every instrument is always funny. Especially if that included an Irish singer who’s already pretty malted, electrical banjo and mandolin, an accordionist dressed like a post-war publicist from L.A… and did I mention the singer running everywhere shouting skôl a can of Guinness in the hand? That would be Flogging Molly. The combo seemed to be in great form and very happy to be here. Bergen got spoiled with more than one hour of Celtic punk rock, teasy musicians and small talks and speeches by Dave King. Most new songs fit very well on stage, especially Saints and Sinners. On a less positive side, the extented jam on Black Friday Rule and the mediocre The power’s out could have been easily replaced by Don’t let me Die Still Wondering or Death Valley Queen. But the wonferful Whistles the Wind did impress most of us out there. Hats off. 5.5/6.
Swarm is a brand new band. Despite being led by one of the founding members of Entombed, Uffe Cederlund, they played in an almost empty Garage as a support band for Boston-based Doomriders. Where are the people? Probably watching Den Svenska Björnstammen in a full packed Kvarteret, where those standing in the queue have more chance to get a kinder egg from of of the random passing junkies than to get in without a press-pass or a machine gun. Getting in and out there made me quickly understand why it semed that everybody in town tried to see this gig: Picture yourself half a dozen of acneic swedish kids with T-shirts painted with bear motives, electronic drums, keys, a guitar and a bass here and there, and songs that balance between Justin Bieber, Knudsen og Ludvigsen and Britney Spears, all this shredded and blended together with synthpop and jungle. The type of stuff to make you wonder if somebody slipped a roofie in your drink. Anyways. Back to the cellar at Garage for Swarm. The trio is punching hard from the first song and plays, as for – Doomriders – one kind of harcore / death’n’stoner and has fun doing it. Unfortunately, the absence of public made interaction difficult and i doubt their 30-minutes set turned a lot of heads. Big shame, because this may be a band to follow in the near future. 3.5/6
When Doomriders hits the stage, The Garage is well populated, still not crowded. There it goes for one hour of stoner, death’n’roll – you-name-it – metal. The lineage with hardcore is detectable, yet the band has its own melodic, heavier style, and it’s no surprise knowing a posteriori that the singer/guitarist is none other than Converge’s bassist. Some of the songs are quite redundant apart from the 2-guitars soli here and there, but being short for most of them, it goes fine. With only two albums out, the band played an entire hour. Picture yourself a mix of Motörhead, Converge, Church of Misery and you’ll get something close to Doomriders. 4/6