OSLO NORWAY: DAY 2
Some things to take from the things I’ve taken here in Oslo:
I’ve bitched about rock performance feedback loops in the past here, but apparently it applies hardcore on the non-US/UK front. These really underground Norwegian bands are celebrated by mainstream press the more they become facsimiles of successful British (Coldplay) and American bands (Guns N Roses). (British and American rock bands have their own problems, but at least they don’t have to worry about sounding British or American, or shouldn’t.) That’s expected on record (and hey, whatever makes people happy), but we really start seeing the scourge rock music’s (and the rock industry) been on the rest of the world when the supposedly professional performance of it has become so rigid systematized–very defined gestures and this-means-thats, all making claims to authenticity.
Norway’s Ricochets, f’rinstance, made all the mean faces and jumped on all the right monitor amps, but between songs, they let their guard down (and we’re really polite!), and the off-stage/on-stage distinction was just a lot to take in. Not that the promise is one-to-one, no pretenses or whatever, but the “theater of rock” does bore me when merely executed as it has been on so many stages here in Oslo so far. Keep in mind though: (a) I don’t know Norwegian and (b) the Richochets bassist was a hybrid Quincy Jones-Sasha Frere-Jones.
Looking for Annie
Obviously I did this for like 10 hours yesterday. Yo! Turns out a lot of people here look like Annie. Here are a few iterations of Annie I saw:
– Goth Annie
– Annie carrying a baby
– Black Annie
– Exposed Roots Annie
– Retarded Annie (don’t laugh)
– Way way retarded Annie, like beyond your wildest dreams retarded
– Annie that wasn’t retarded, just a little slow
– Hybrid Annie from Norway-Annie from Annie
– Shitty Annie (Annie)
– Annie Through Rough High School Years (braces, pizza face)
– Rusted Root Annie (different from Exposed Roots Annie)
– Pregnant Annie
– Post-Abortion Annie
An Impromptu Interview with Death From Above 1979
I know it’s not obvious from the posts, but Riff Raff can get a bit OCD. Like this morning, when the riff wagon went cruising for hotel breakfast. I was anxious to sit in the same seat I’ve had for two days in a row now, only to find this morning, that in the seat was the drummer from Death From Above 1979, sucking down some yogurt.
Well isn’t this just great. I don’t like having to be put on the spot, but if this guy’s going to make me interview him, I’ll just put up with it.
Are you a dude in a band.
It’s OK, you can smile.
Death From Above
I’m in that band, yes.
This wasn’t going anywhere–DFA79 guy wasn’t going to give me his seat unless I asked him explicitly. So I got up the gall and did. Here goes:
I love you guys.
It’s OK, I’ll sit somewhere else.
Moving On: ‘No Crowdsurfing’
There was a sign at the top of the stage explicitly denouncing this celebrated outdoor concert move. That’s fine, but what was confusing was what looked like a four-step visual instructions on how one would go about crowd-surfing.
On an unrelated, a-critical, catchdubby sorta note, do your best to find Papoose & Paul Wall’s “Ridin’ Shotgun”–it’s mamazing.
Preview: Fixxations EP
Download: “Un Deux”
This was no shocker. If you get a guitarist to dress like Jimi Hendrix, a super-tall blonde Nordic woman to play bass guitar (with a skull sticker) and wear bangs and long straight Cat Power-type hair, their first song’s going to sound like Chavez, the second Disco Inferno, and the rest of the set somewhere between Jesus and Mary Chain and Sonic Youth (horizontally) and the Telescopes and Moose (metaphorically). During this ten-minute noise breakdown, the blonde woman tried her best to look bored, then pushed her hair back, and launched into this killer minimal groove that the band eventually caught up with.
Babies at concerts
Seriously this shit has to stop. I saw like ten babies yesterday. Get a babysitter already. Dude, just because your baby has a noise protection headset on just like the nine other babies in the park doesn’t mean I’m going to let you get in front of me at the beer stand.
Preview: Cracked Wide Open LP
Jazz-punk? It’s jazz, see, because (a) the bass player’s bass is an upright, (b) some songs have swing beats, (c) some songs are not in 4/4. Check it out–sounds like what Need New Body are going for but are too much of hacks to get it out of themselves. Other parts, really only the parts when the lead guy sings in falsetto, remind me of Scissor Sisters/Prince vs. Hella. The part when he did an entire chorus in babytalk reminded me of any number of babies.
I saw a dude wearing a McDonald’s shirt, except it said “Marijuana: Over 1 Billion Stoned”
Somebody Make Fisherspooner Stop
Forget their lame-ass show, empty costume gestures, and undeserved smugness, as if we should be honored to have them play for us. Whenever I see these schmucks on stage I feel like I’m watching a funeral for music itself–I’m sure there’s a way to make that interesting too, but this is not how.
Anyway, who sings for this band? Fisher? Spooner? There’s a chick in a hockey jersey but I don’t think she’s a founding member. Whoever the shitfaced asshole (who stopped in the middle of a song just so he could drink a beer, like that gesture’s really punk or anything more than self-impressed bullshit and vapid high school drama), here are things he said:
– “It’s light here–I’m used to DARKNESS”
– “Hello Norway! This is our first time in Oslo!” (He said this ten times)
– (Since his set wasn’t going over well): “Don’t get too excited”
– (When it really started going bad): “Be less Norwegian!”
Then he started shooting beer at the crowd, expecting them to dance just because his songs have disco beats, squealing when things went wrong like the cabaret prick bastard he undoubtedly is in “real life.” I get it.
Wolf Parade, or How Every Band is Slowly Starting to Sound Like Frog Eyes
Which is infuriating, because everybody hated Frog Eyes when they came out, and now this arthouse arpeggio stardust shtick’s hitting hard: Arcade Fire, Wolf Parade, and lots of the new Animal Collective record in October. I can’t see Wolf Parade taking off like the Arcade Fire though. Why? Their “dude who bangs stuff” doesn’t wear a rocketship helmet.