ROCK’N’LOL 2012 – Day 1 – Søfteland
Rock’n’Lol started as a garden party in Søfteland, a place everybody goes through to catch the ferry but that nobody visits unless they want to re-play the Immortal video in the Lysekloster ruins. Five years later they’re voted best festival in Bergen, have a 4000 visitors attendance on the course of two days, a gratis family day with an attendance of 1100 people and countless of babystrollers, and have a solid team of volunteers as well as a well established reputation.
The festival takes place on an idyllic sloppy meadow, and the camping is right by a lake. Meaning you can sit far from the main stage with your hot dog and still enjoy a good view on the concerts. The only neighbors are cows in their stable (hence the smell and odd noises). The organization is young and dynamic, the toilets are mostly clean, the food/drinks prices are OK, well, this is a very nice festival. For everyone. Rock’n’Lol has no age limit and minors can access reserved areas in front of both stages, which is very nice for young locals that want to come without dragging mommy, or for your neighbor’s kids under 10 that can come in for free. Apart from the second stage looking like an Oktoberfest pølsetelt, Rock’n’Lol totally derserves his "Bergen Beste Festival" status.
To the music now:
(SITRUSSYRE – Photo: Stig Pallesen)
Sitrussyre was not on the bill and is here as a bonus-band. They fortunately forgot their mustaches and suspenders in Trondheim and took their electro pop/ska-rock to Søfteland instead. They had the tough mission to open the festival but managed well and would have deserved to play for more people. Minus point because they stole the man-beater concept from the defunct Bergen band BART.
(JOHN OLAV NILSEN & GJENGEN – Photo: Stig Pallesen)
John Olav Nilsen & Gjengen delivered a set filling the expectations of most of the audience and the festival really took off when the boys from Loddefjord where playing. The song of the second album are like on CD: It’s good, but something is missing. Clearly apparent when the crowd is jumping and singing along on the older tracks. A concert mostly pleasant but slightly crippled by weak vocals.
Ribozyme from Askøy is strangely scheduled to play in the pølsetelt, something I didn’t really understand, for after playing in Peer Gynt Salen during Bergenfest, why not giving them the main stage? They managed however to deliver an energetic set from the beginning, in a nicely filled tent. Sound was more than acceptable considering the venue. Despite the daylight and the primitive stage, they actually seemed slightly more confident and relaxed than at Peer Gynt, but more communication would have been a great plus, especially when the band is standing very close to his audience. All in all, great concert. Like for last time, more would be better! The song played with two guitars makes me wonder if the band would gain in tone and general athmosphere with a second guitarist.
(EL CACO – Photo: Stig Pallesen)
It’s now time for heavy rock El Caco (the thief) to take over the main stage. Despite being relatively still underground at the moment, they have a "rock star potential". Catchy riffs, groovy basslines and charismatic frontman. Unfortunately the band is lacking general presence and energy, and drowns in being a good, but not better than others rock bands. Maybe better in a smaller venue.
(ENSLAVED – Photo: Stig Pallesen)
Having seen Enslaved 5-6 times, I wasn’t really curious about seeing them again. I didn’t like much Ruun and Verterbrae, and the last concerts at Hole in The Sky, in a filled-up Verftet, too much people and the damn chimney standing in the middle, made me skeptical. It’s now time to see them outdoor for the first time, and that was a blast. The band is in very good form, Grutle is talkative, Arve Isdal is enjoying himself as the discreet Ivar is more active than usual. The songs from the last album Axioma Ethica Odini work perfectly on stage, Isa unchained the crowd, and we got Allfaðr Oðinn from the first EP. Slaget i Skogen Bortenfor would have been really nice too, but we can’t get everything and expect the band to cover the whole discography during one set would be hopeless. Probably hopeless too to expect a Black Metal concert, but I doubt some people still do. Taking the band for what it has become and not for what it was long time ago, surely my best Enslaved concert since the gig at the defunct Locomotive in Paris in 2005. However, the band is on the edge of getting on autopilot and doesn’t seem to take risks or being as audacious as they certainly could be. To be followed.