OSLO NORWAY: DAY 1
Riff Raff works the streets of Oslo, finds next big thing
Hello random dudes and parents reading Riff Raff R&B (that’s riffs & braffs) on the early morning tip. You, like I, hunger for the best in Norwegian pop, death punk, and black metal, which is why I snuck into Fader don Will Welch‘s luggage late Tuesday night and slept in a cardboard box outside the Oslo airport Wednesday afternoon (free wireless is free wireless). I’ve got 200 kronners, a laptop with fifteen minutes left, and seven warrants for my arrest–so let’s get to poppin’.
The Oya Festival starts later today, but most of the bands playing that are actually good, and only one of the bands playing is Franz Ferdinand. But what does Oslo really have to offer, that’s exciting and popular and doesn’t require me using my credit card (which would tip the 200 or so police officers looking for me to my whereabouts) or loaded gun (ditto)?
Check it, I’m on the Oslo street beat like a urine stain on a hobo’s Bart Simpson shirt: Here are Norway’s next big acts:
1) The dude playing didgeree doo (sp?) and bongos at the same exact time. He had this huge wood tube attached to his mouth like a gas mask bong, itself supported by elaborate miniature scaffolding; the scaffolding, which themselves served as mini-bongs for the bong, freed up his hands to hit the drums and occasionally riff. Dude’s set started getting interesting when several gypsies tried to run off with the didgeree doo, not knowing it was attached to his face. He ran with the gypsies for a little (nobody wants to break the groove), but it got old quick, so he dropped the bongos and put up his hands as if to say, “OK gypsies, enough’s enough.” As a compromise, he gave his bongos to a gypsy baby.
2) Regular dude with electric guitar, tons of effects pedals, but no amp and no electricity. I tried to interview him, but all I could get out of him was, “I think the crowd is feeling something a little more acoustic.” He unplugged his guitar cord, and played a song written by Norway’s Bob Dylan, the dudes from Royksopp.
3) One of those human still-life jobs, an angel, except it was also holding a trombone. Honestly I have no idea what happened here. My guess is the guy alternates days between the goofy angel stuff and the trombone stuff: He left his flat, got himself all dolled out, grabbed his horn, realized that technically he wasn’t allowed to play it, but too many people had seen him move at this point that he couldn’t risk putting it back in the case. In the world of street performances, if you have to decide between being an excellent human still-life or a compelling jazz trombonist, your best bet is probably not to be this poor sonnuvabitch.
4) Noise dude doing drum circle/wanky shit, wearing a tuxedo. This guy has the right idea–if nobody’s taking your genre seriously, it’s probably because you’re not wearing a top hat, or one of those paper shirts with a tuxedo printed on it.
5) Rap in Norway. I was curious too. I made my way into a few record shops and could only find the new Akon. I don’t think this is my fault–keep in mind I am wearing my G-NOT shirt courtesy of Fuck50Cent.com (bought as a gift from this guy Ryan Dombal), so it’s not like I’m wearing clothing that doesn’t command a lot of respect here in Oslo. Finally I found a store that reminded me a lot of Mondo Kim’s, so I went in and asked, “What’s good,” so they would know I was tough. They replied, “What’s good,” as well. We stood there staring at each other for three hours. Finally I broke the ice. “What’s really good?” To which they replied, sourly, “What’s good.” Only later, after resisting arrest and sneaking into this hotel, did I find out they weren’t saying *What’s good” so much as “Wvehtøs gøørts”, which means, roughly, “Yesterday the RIAA raided our store for mixtapes.” Mr. Kim was unavailable for comment.