This year I have seen something between 150 and 200 concert at some 15 festivals, and at different venues, and I have had the chance to photograph most of them. Concerts in many different styles: jazz, folk, country, metal, classical, rock, hip-hop, pop. Here are my Top 15 concert experiences of 2012.
This will also be the last posting here at Artist Pictures Blog in 2012. More to come in 2013.
#15 – Mayhem at the by:Larm festival
Mayhem is one of the original Norwegian black metal bands that are still active. Their stage show is always spectacular in a theatrical way, and their performance at by:Larm this year was no exception.
#14 – Laleh at Norwegian Wood
Laleh became really well known in Norway after she performed her song Some Die Young at the memorial concert after the July 22nd tragedy in 2011. She also made a great performance at the Norwegian Wood festival, with her strong songs and her presence on stage.
#13 – Johnny Hoy & The Bluefish at the Hell Blues festival
I had never heard of Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish before the Blues in Hell festival in September. But Johnny’s voice and his band won me over, and I became an instant fan. I just hope that some of the other blues festivals in Norway book them for 2013. Johnny Hoy’s voice is one of the best in today’s blues.
#12 – Hedvig Mollestad Trio at Steinkjerfestivalen
Hedvig Mollestad has already won well deserved prices for her guitar playing, and her trio is a refreshing blend of jazz with some really intricate rhythms and rocky guitar attitude. Her trio is very adept, and this was the second time I saw them this year.
#11 – 50 Cent with Eminem at the SXSW
One of the top shows at SXSW in Austin this year was the hip hop night at the Austin Music Hall, that was headlined by 50 Cent with Eminem as a guest. I usually don’t get excited by hip hop concerts, butt his one was an exception. Great band and great performances by the two stars.
#10 – Hellbillies at Oslo Spektrum
Hellbilies is maybe the best Norwegian, and vcertainly most solid live band these days. Their music is a mix of southern rock and country music, with intelligent Norwegian lyrics and one of Norway’s best guitarists. The band’s sound is full, tight and they fill the venues wherever they play. The concert at Oslo Spektrum was no exception.
#9 – Lionel Richie at the SXSW
I have always been a fan of Lionel Richie’s songs, but I have never seen him live until SXSW in March this year. He really surprised me with a great show, even if it was a slight bit too much Vegas to me. But he is still a great performer, his voice is great, and he did most of his many hits. And as an extra bonus, Kenny Rogers joined him in their duet Lady at the end of the concert.
#8 – Carolyn Wonderland at the Notodden Blues FestivalCarolyn Wonderland is one of my favourite artists, and I see her as often as I can. She gives a great performance every time I see her. This year she played the Notodden Blues Festival for the first time, and I have chosen one of her two shows there to represent her. The Carolyn Wonderland Band consists of Carolyn, Cole El Saleh and Rob Hooper, and I am already looking forward to seeing them again in Austin at the SXSW in 2013.
#7 – Gojira at Parkteatret
Last year at the Norwegian Wood festival was the first time I saw Gojira, after having heard their music on CD. This year they played a concert at a small venue in Oslo for 350 fans. A great show, and I can’t remember the last time I heard such a tight and virtuoso band.
#6 – Lars Winnerbäck at Norwegian Wood
Lars Winnerbäck is an artist I have known for some years. I have seen him solo, and this time was the first time I saw him with his band. He is one of the rare kinds of artists who combine poetic lyrics with great melodies, and at the Norwegian Wood fstival he performed in the full band fashion of artists like Bruce Springsteen.
#5 – Kaizers Orchestra at Steinkjerfestivalen
Kaizers Orchestra have done some of their best concerts years this year, headlining many festivals. The concert at the Steinkjer festival was no exception, and it showed the band in top shape. This is the last year for the band, next fall the will take an indefinite pause after touring excetsively until then. In the beginning of January they will do six performances at the Norwegian national Opera house with the opera orchestra.
#4 – Jarle Bernhoft at the Working Class Hero festival
Jarle Bernhoft has one of the best voices I have ever heard. The first time I heard him, was with his rock band Span 8 years ago. After that I have heard him in different other settings before he started out solo some years ago. For the last years he has had two kinds of shows, one solo, where he loops himself, and one with a full band. At the Working Class Hero festival he played with a full band with – among others – Hedvig Mollestad on guitar. His performance is exquisite, and his songs are likewise.
#3 – Charles Bradley at the Oya Festival in Oslo
Charles Bradley is another artist I had never heard of before he played at the Oya festival this year. For someone who grew up with Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin’s soul of the late 60’s, artists like Charles Bradley and also Sharon Jones follow up a great soul tradition. Charles Bradley started late as a solo performer, but I am already looking forward to seeing him again.
#2 – Alejandro Escovedos with Bruce Springsteen at the SXSW
Alejandro Escovedos is one of the musical jewels of Austin. He has been around for many years, first with the alt. country band Rank and File, then as a solo artist for the last 20 years. At this year’s Austin Music Awards, he was the main musical act, closing the show with a 2 and a half hour concert with his band and some of his friends: Garland Jeffreys, Joe Ely, and the one everyone waited for: Bruce Springsteen. The concert was a tour de force through Escovedos’ catalogue, and his friends were in top shape.
#1 – Tom Petty at the Norwegian Wood festival
Tom Petty has written the sountrack to many people’s lives, also mine. Both the music he has released with his long time band The Heartbreakers, ans also the ones he released with his other friends, Jeff Lynne, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and George Harrison. This summer he headlined the Norwegian Wood festival in Oslo, and it was one and a half hours of happiness for all of us who were there. I just hope he doesn’t wait too long before he comes back to Norway again.