If you have never seen Bigbang live before, you have definitely missed out on one of Norway’s best live bands. Last night they played at Oslo Spektrum to an audience of almost 5000. They delivered a performance with all the ingredients you expect, plus some more – great songs, great playing, interesting guests, high jumps and a stage dive with guitar.
BigBang started as a band in 1992, and since then they have changed band members a lot, while singer and front man Oystein Greni has been the one constant factor. The present setup has been there for some years now, Nicolai Haengsle Eilertsen on bass and Olaf Olsen on drums. Both are extremely competent musicians, and they also sing well, contributing perfectly to the band’s sound.
Oystein Greni is a very good songwriter, a good singer, and he has a personal guitar style that changes between creative riffs, single note playing and heavy solos. Together with Eilertsen and Olsen’s dynamic and also hard playing, the band gets a sound that is refreshing, organic and also very much their own.
BigBang have released nine studio albums, one best of, and one live album. They have also released one album for the American market, From Acid to Zen in 2008. Their live album, Radio Radio TV Sleep from 2003 is still the most bought live album in Norway. The band’s latest CD is The Oslo Bowl, and their present concert tour is dedicated to this release, with eight of the songs from the CD.
Having seen BigBang several times since 1999, when they released their second CD, Eletcric Psalmbook with the charismatic song Girl In Oslo, I never get tires of seeing them on stage. Few other artists have the same energy as Oystein Greni. He is to me the archetypical rock artist, who works for his audience and also shows his appreciation of them. Greni is the obvious front man in the band, but without their good songs and a rhythm session like Eilertsen and Olsen, it could easily have been all style and no content.
Together with the songs from The Oslo Bowl, BigBang played their live favorites from earlier CDs. Wild Bird, Girl In Oslo and To The Mountains have been live favorites with the band for many years, and they are just as good every time I see the band. It is also a bonus that when the conditions are right, Oystein does his stage dive during one of them.
Oystein Greni lives part time in Los Angeles and part time in Oslo, and while in California he surfs a lot. Before he started out as a musician, he was also one of Norway’s best skaters, so his physical condition is excellent. It is always fun to try to photgraph his jumps and stage dives as an added bonus.
The Oslo Bowl is maybe the best CD from BigBang. What sets it apart from the others is that they have added elements from the Norwegian folk music by using central folk musicians on many of the songs. These were guests on stage yesterday – Tuva Syvertsen and Erik Sollid from Valkyrien Allstars on the Harding fiddle, and Sinikka Langeland on kantele, a string instrument originating in Finland Karelia, the area on the border between Finland and Russia.
I enjoyed the concert and will definitely see them again the next time I get a chance, even if BigBang is probably the band I have seen the most times live. Some bands are like that, you never get tired of seeing them. Some concerts aren’t as good as the others, but yesterday’s concert at Oslo Spektrum was definitely one of the best I have seen with BigBang. The new songs, the guests, the good mood among the 5000 fans, and first of all the great band contributed to a night to remember.
All the pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.