So Oslo, Round Two

August 12, 2005

As far as our fine Norwegian friends are concerned, the entirety of the first proper day at the Oya Festival in Oslo was full of opening acts - Turbonegro is the only headliner here. When their headliner-among-headliners slot arrived, the Village People Of Hard Rock got themselves pumped up backstage - they swung canes around, laughed with their douchey, champagne-swilling manager, and were escorted by a midget mini-me of the band's lead singer. Meanwhile, the crowd of kids in Turbonegro sailors caps sang secret Turbonegro chants from the ram-packed front of the 10,000 strong crowd. It was finally dark out, everyone had had enough 50k pints (do the math at 6.5k to the dollar) to be hammered, and the rain had finally dried up. (Note to all festival organizers: don't invite us. We are 100% guaranteed to bring rain.)

Most of the people in Turbonegro - especially the lead singer - are easily old enough to be the dads of all the fanatics in the crowd, so it gets a little awkward when he's singing "Everybody sell your body tonight, alright!" and "When everybody hates you you have nothing to lose!" and "Get wasted!" to a panting, smooshed crowd of 15 year-old blondies. And it's always kinna weird when kids idolize a middle aged man with a leather gut support brace and really bad face paint. But then again, it's prolly not the first or last time it's happened so who are we to complain? We were more into Dinosaur Jr's set. What is fun? What is cock rock?

That said, Dinosaur Jr was amazing, if a little bit renunion-y sounding on the vocal front. The drummer took his shirt off and jiggled as he played. Mascis whipped his grey hair in arcs like it was the line on a fly fishing rod. Barlow is the least rock & roll-looking guy of all time, yet he easily has the best rock moves we've ever seen - subtle, genuine, and tough as shit. He spreads his feet wide apart and flails his bass, he goes up on his tippy toes to death-roar into the mic, he turns around to his amp and jams the fuck out. As the set ended in a hurricane of distortion, Barlow cackled an absolutely terrifying fake laugh into the mic over and over. Mascis put his guitar down and left it ringing as he walked off stage. The drummer (sorry folks, there's no Google in Norway!) crashed away on the cymbals, and Barlow just kept laughing and pulling feedback out of his bass. The mic stand fell down and he fell down after it, his nose to the stage, his glasses half off, still somehow pounding at the bass and laughing into the mic. Eventually he got up and walked off. A roadie came out and shut off Mascis's feedback. Then it was over. Later we were standing next to Mascis while we both watched Turbonegro from the side of the stage, but we pussed out and didn't say anything to him about how awesome he is.When we were in elementary school we didn't understand our friend who used to wear the Dinosaur Jr and Mudhoney T-shirts. Now we wish we'd borrowed his tapes.

(Also, let it be known that the soundman put on "Uptown Top Ranking" after the roadie cut Mascis's sound. Best moment of the festival so far. GIMME LIKKLE BASS MAKE ME WINE UP MI WAIST. If you ain't heard it, find it. If y'all think our dancehall and roots coverage is just our little private obsession, you're foolin. Jamaica is inslumnational. Our man Stats called it the "ghetto archipelago" gone worldwide and it's a true story.)

The setting of the Oya Festival is insane. It's at the foot of some lush hills that rise out of the fjords (okay, ocean), and there's a stretch of fjord that's been made into a river that serves as the moat-like border of the site's front end. The drumline hand-cymbal dude from the Polyphonic Spree caught the happy-vibes extra hard at the end of the set - he went wading through the crowd with cymbals in tow and ran straight out into the water, paddling around with the Zildjians and dunking himself in and out on some Polyphonic Baptism shee-shee. We couldn't see exactly, but we think the cymbals may be at the bottom of water.

The Polyphonic Spree may have been outdone by Devendra for the Manson Family Cult Award, but they're two time winners in years past and we almost forgot about them. DeLaughter even had his kids in robes running around banging on drums and singing. But the creepiest part is the chorus, the vast majority of which is made up of super hot girls that dance and sing and freeze in motion when DeLaughter gives the signal. It's like they're permanently playing "red light green light" with DeLaughter as all-time quarterback. What we're saying here is fuck the music, we want to know who's fucking who. Them Texas girls are hottt!

Relatedly, here's the tall & tatted bass player from new Norwegian band Serena Maneesh. Their set at Oya was one of their first gigs ever - great big building rock along that's kinna on the Vietnam side of the Secret Machines.

The sleeper band of the festival is also the recipient of the Dr Dog Award. Rumble In Rhodos are five young norwegian dudes who are on some At The Drive In shit with slightly softer angles. The lead singer plays both Blood Brothers at once, singing one line with a Cedric Bixler Zavala high voice, then drops down into a really nice low singing voice. The songs are great, but they get the Dr Dog Award for being young dudes that don't try to act like rock stars, or anything at all for that matter. They don't dress up like assholes and they don't pose. One guy does have a kinna crazy mustache, but it looks awesome and he's Norwegian so maybe it's not weird. But yeah, RIR just play great hardcore-ish rock and are psyched about it. So are we.

As we were running from the festival site to the after party, we ran smack dab into the best song of the festival. It was by Wolf Parade and we have no idea what it's is called but we're gonna check their new Sub Pop record the fuckin second we get home. We didn't know they were on some Animal Collective shit like that, although maybe the similarities in name should've clued us in. Fucked up thing though is that it was the last song of their show. It may not have even been the best song of their set, but it was all we saw of them.

The after party was at a club, with Maximo Park and the Posies performing. Good times, Maximo Park was very tight and British and good but we don't really get down too tough to that kind of stuff. Although some of us are back home are psyched about the new Franz record. Anyway, then the Posies came on and sounded fine but the guitar player came out and said "Hello Norgies!" and a bunch of other whack self-indulgent shit throughout the set. Fuck that dude.

Till tomorrow, lovers!

Posted: August 12, 2005
So Oslo, Round Two