So Oslo, Round Four

August 16, 2005

We figured the fourth and final day of the Oya Festival in Oslo (here's our stuff from the rest of the fest) would be all Franz Ferdinand all the time, but as it turns out Roots Manuva kind of stole the show. Strange Norwegian rap groups weren't enough shelter from the storm of guitars, so the heavy hip-hop, UK/JA dub of Roots's dope live band had the good people of Oslo psyched - they knew all the songs, and weren't pissed that Manuva never played "Highest Grade", even though some dude in the front row called for it between every number.

We should mention up front that our man with the camera Neil Massey had to return to London, so we took today's pictures that you see here. We have no idea how to work a camera. And these new autofocus digital techmologies are pretty insane - backstage right before Franz went on, we asked if we could take the band's picture, and being the nicest dudes ever, they asked the dude they were talking to to step aside, then put their arms around each other and smiled. We aimed the camera and the autofocus took over from there, zooming in and out and refusing to allow us to press the shutter. After a good thirty seconds of Franz standing there - no longer smiling so much by the end - we squeezed a couple flash-less shots off. Thanks for your patience, laddie lads.

Franz Ferdie is an ideal festival band. They're plenty tight, so there's no trouble with the strange, dispersed outdoor sound, they run around a lot and fill the large stage, and the shit's just so upbeat and happy and danceable that you'd have to be an asshole not to enjoy yourself. Alex's banter is cute like his shirt and his blond hair - he does mini VH1 Storytellers tales about the songs before they get into them, stuff about fighting with his "mates" in "school" because they were all trying to "chat up" the same "girl".

Probably the most raddest thing about Franz though is that the drummer Paul and his girlfriend were the only other people with us backstage for the Roots Maneuvers. At first they were just kinna checking Roots out and nodding along, but by the end they were jamming and dancing and just being generally well dressed. Well we wouldn't ever dress like that, but they looked awesome. Dude's girl had on the white jeans with the super high Jordache waist, and we were psyched because then we started thinking about those Jordache ads that we used to see after school where it's just a model's ass and she's just kinna spinning around, almost like Kells in that insane part of the "Ignition" video. Almost like that, but different. Anyway, her jeans may have had starch in them they were so stiff and clean and white. Roots, meanwhile, was well dressed in a different way. Your man has some serious no style style. Weird drawstring linen pants, a t-shirt with a super shiny tux vest over it, some pink and silver sneaks and a hat that he definitely got for free somewhere. And glasses at night, which is always dubious. His band is rad, but the thing that makes Roots so awesome (besides his quiet brooding weirdness) is his hypeman, Ricky Ranking. I mean the radness of the name aside, dude is totally insane, saying all kinds of bizarre shit into the mic that nobody understood, singing all the hooks, keeping the crowd live between songs, and just generally getting his Barrington Levy on. Roots meanwhile slaughters the crowd by really not trying at all. He just kinna bobs and nods and walks side to side, then goes into a crazy high-knee jester dance and everyone loses their mind. If we were Ari's daughter in Entourage, fuck DJ Quik, we would've had Roots play our Bat Mitzvah and kids would've been so jealous. Witness the fitness.

Overall the Oya Festival was great, but alas - sorry friends - none of the local bands are quite ready to do for Norway what Björk has done for Iceland, and we assume that they shipped us all the way over there in hopes that we'd find some new Norwegian band and declare them the Truth. Turns out we just rocked out to Rumble In Rhodos and lost our minds (and questioned the durability of the basic materials that make up our souls) while sitting around with Pete Libertine. "Do what you want, mate!" has never seemed like such impossible advice before. Plus we finally figured out what the Dinosaur Jr fuss is all about, and that alone was worth the skymiles, if for no other reason than that we won't get clowned at any more meals among our friends who know about freaky 7"s from the ’80s and ’90s and shit.

Our time has come to leave jolly Oslo, but fuck it - we're not going home yet. Upwards and onwards!

We had never seen Sons & Daughters before and had no idea they were all Johnny Cash. It's like Franz Ferdie (who also checked the band from the side of the stage) but much darker and much more um-Bap um-Bap country-ed out, like all that faster stuff from Live At Folsom Prison. Lay off the whiskey and let that cocaine be!

If you're at a festival and there is a band from China playing, you just go see them because you have no idea how it's possible that rad punk bands could come from China. The Subs were great but we still don't understand. Yet.

Cast are a hip-hop group that really went for it for a while and rapped in Norwegian, but then were like fuck it and just did a song called "Dreams" in English (we think that's what it's called anyway) about how, in his dreams, dude gets beats from Dr Dre, and also Timbaland gives him beats that he uses as background music for skits. Like how Kanye said, "You can't even rap on my interlude." Cast also has a line that goes "Nature/ We love nature/ The rain forest..." It was super awesome though that they just brought a stencil and made their stage decorations right quick before going on.

Posted: August 16, 2005
So Oslo, Round Four