On the final day of By:Larm, in a packed coffee shop connected to a rustic general store that felt like Brooklyn, Alex Horne and Mattis With two contributors to Resident Advisor told me about Lindstrom’s garden, where he spends a lot of time. Apparently he once set up a little table out there to do an interview when it was warm. Imagine that life: spending time with your family, sitting at a little rickety table in your own garden, working on music and then every once in awhile going to a club to perform. Needless to say, Lindstrom was probably not spending too much time in the snow during the winter. Every day that I was in Norway it snowed. It snowed when I woke up in the morning, it snowed when I got lost on streets I could have sworn I walked down just 20 minutes before, only to realize I was in an entirely different part of the city.
Walking through a shopping strip—H&M, H&M, nice 7-11, H&M—I ran into one of the members of Fontan carrying a box full of old books and weird cables. Apparently some dude had been rooting through a dumpster and found a series of wires and the kind of late-‘70s science books with intricate pencil drawings of plans for ridiculous spaceships that never actually got made. Some people in New York would probably pay hundreds of dollars for, if only to scan the images and post them on their blogs. This is the thing about Oslo. Besides being an outlet to showcase their local talent, it seems like it’s also a chance for bands to try to get out, even if they really don't need to. To attract the attention of outside cities and festivals and try to prove what’s already been proven: There is a lot of local talent here, and also: this place is awesome.
Above is a picture of Bla that I didn't take. More on that in a couple sentences. After eating fish liver (better than any candy, kind of sweet, vaguely mushy and weightless) and drinking Aquavit (I know I could just look this up—but what is the deal with this stuff? It was good, but what do people normally drink it with and when? Is it a digestif? There was an entire Aquavit bar in the airport.), I headed to Bla, which was less a club and more a series of interconnected warehouses and old rooms. One room just had a bar, a couple easy chairs and walls lined with books. Walk down metal fire escape stairs and across a snowy courtyard and you’re in a much bigger room, which is where it felt like 90% of the festival ended up to see Mungolian Jet Set. You can tell by the fact that every one of my pictures features a distant, smokey, blurry picture of the band and the backs of a whole bunch of people’s heads who are packed in too tight to dance.
It was at this point that my camera died. It was also at this point that I discovered another room where Skatebard was playing. When I found out that the bathrooms were made entirely out of glass—floor to ceiling. It felt like what people want New York to be. Weird and confusing and a total mess but still fun enough that you could pretty much just have some guy hitting a stick against a wall for five hours and people would still be having a good time.
By the time I left, having no idea where I was, I was worried I wouldn’t be able to find the hotel. But before I knew it, after slipping on ice only once. I was back. I woke up in the morning and for the first time since I arrived the city was completely clear, just in time for me to get back on the soothing airport train and fly for a million hours back to the US.