THE DEVIL AND THE ALMIGHTY BLUES – Hulen, Bergen
On a chilly and rather bleak Thursday night, the hard-hitting blues rock outfit named The Devil and the Almighty Blues, which hails from Oslo, rolled into town and laid siege to one of my favorite venues in Bergen, namely Hulen. I could not think of a better place for a band like this to perform; intimate, atmospheric, and suitably dark, just the way we like it. The stage setup was simple and minimalistic, which is to say that there were no gimmicks, backdrop, or anything of that sort involved in the quintet’s roughly eighty minutes long performance. It was just four guys on stage giving it their all.
The sound that emanated from the speakers and enveloped us all was raw, bombastic, organic, and soul-crushingly heavy. Filthy, whisky-fueled hard rock blues is probably the best and most fitting description that my coffee-deprived brain can conjure up as I am writing this. The band’s long, sprawling compositions were not just groovy and melancholy, but also crunchy and mesmerizing. Certain passages were downright hypnotic. The members of the band were clearly enjoying themselves on stage and the performance as a whole was tight and yet suitably loose and rough around the edges, which is the way it ought to be when dealing with morose and emotionally charged music such as that evoked by The Devil and the Almighty Blues.
While the adrenaline-fueled riffs reeked of stale beer, longing, and heartbreak, there were a lot of subtle details, interesting textures, and thick layers present within each song, which was something that the decent-sized Bergen crowd seemed to really appreciate and dig. The turnout was surprisingly good for a Thursday night and I dare say that each and every one of us got what we came for last night. Music for the broke, drifting, and lovesick has rarely sounded better. A memorable gig for sure. Make sure you check the band’s music out on Bandcamp!