The first time I heard the Real Ones from Bergen some 15 years ago, I was amazed by their harmonies, and the general togetherness in their playing. This has been one of their trademarks, together with some really good songs. Yesterday night they played at Bergen Fest to a big and enthusiastic audience. (Picture above: David Vogt and Joergen Sandvik)
The Real Ones have just released two CDs at the same time – Tonight Only Tonight and The Morning After. Before these two, they have released seven CDs, and they got a Norwegian Grammy for their 2008 release, All For The Neighbourhood. They started playing together in 1994, when they were about 14-15 years old, and have played together as a band for 20 years so far.
Ivar Vogt and Oeystein Skjaelaaen
The Real Ones are the two brothers Ivar and David Vogt, Joergen Sandvik, Kaare Opheim and Oystein Skjaelaaen. The Vogt brothers and Joergen grew up together, and they know each other so well that it is instantly recognizable when they perform. The vocal alternate between David, Ivar and Joergen, and the two other members also do harmonies. Their vocal work has always been top class, with sweet harmonies but without over doing it.
One of the things I like with the Real Ones, is that there apparently aren’t any big egos there, every member gets their shot, even if Ivar, David and Joergen are the band’s front guys. But Oeystein’s bass and Kaare’s organic drumming are central and important ingredients in the band sound.
Another important part of the sound is Joergen’s guitar playing with short melodic-rhytmic riffs. He is a solo guitarist who doesn’t need to play long solos, and his picking adds a lot to the band’s sound. He also plays the sitar. Ivar is a steady rhythm guitarist, while David plays violin and keyboard on some of the songs.
The interesting thing with the Real Ones is that their stage show isn’t much compared to more extravagant bands. But to me, that is the whole point which makes me like their performances. Their musicianship is good, they have catchy songs, and their performance is tight and loose at the same time. Most bands have one member who is more in front than the others. The Real Ones are more of a collective, and I like that.
I don’t know how many times I have seen the Real Ones, but it has been quite regular the last 10-15 years. Before Bergen Fest, 2011 was the last time I saw them. They have also played twice at SXSW, and several festivals in Europe. Bergen Fest yesterday was a perfect setting – except for the rain – with an audience that know their songs and being from Bergen didn’t hurt either.
Being such a versatile band, the Real Ones have collaborated with numerous artists. Stein Torleif Bjella, Razika and Susanne Sundfoer are some of these. Underneath here is the video to their single Sister To All, featuring Susanne Sundfoer, from their 2011 album, First Night On Earth.
There are many bands and artists, known and less known that I have on my “deserves success” list. But the Real Ones are at the top of that list. They have success, being recognized for their qualities and playing festivals and touring Europe. But I would like them to sell records and for them to play the bigger venues when they tour.
So far the Real Ones have survived starting families and getting kids. Let’s hope they continue until their kids can take over the band. Did I mention that they are also genuinely nice guys? If not, I just did.
Ivar Vogt, David Vogt, Oeystein Skjaelaaen
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.