2013 has been a good year for live music. At least it has been great for me. I have been to fourteen festivals, I have seen somewhere between 150 and 200 concerts this year, and I have enjoyed most of them. For some of them I have seen only part of it, but many I have seen the whole concert. Here are 15 of my best 30 concert experiences this year. (Picture above: the audience at Kvelertak’s concert at the Slottsfjell festival)
Kristine Stubbe Teglbjaerg was the singer in the Danish band The Blue Foundation before she went solo. When I saw her at the Danish showcase festival Spot in May, she was promoting her new solo CD “Hamskifte”. Great concert, great visuals.
Redd Volkaert is one of the best guitarists I have heard. And I have heard many. Every year when I am at the SXSW in Austin, I try to hear Redd at least two or three times. Since he usually plays every Saturday afternoon at the Continental Club, and Sunday nights with his other band Heybale!, I usually manage three to four times.
The first time I saw Steve Earle, was in the late 90’s when he played with the Del McCoury Band. The next time he was the keynote speaker at SXSW in 2000. After that I have seen him several times at different festivals and venues, and this year he played the Bergen Fest.
Bendik is a relatively new Norwegian band with singer Silje Halstensen as the undisputed front person. Their music is described by the Roskilde festival as “Bendik are keen on combining the grandiose with icy harmonies, inducing the sensation of a chilly Northern wind.” I saw them at the Slottsfjell festival, and I was immediately taken by their music, and specially by Silje Halstensen’s strong stage presence.
The Norwegian band Junipher Green released their debut LP, Friendship, in 1971. The release was historical as the first double LP released by a Norwegian band. When we compile lists of the best Norwegian albums of all times, Friendship tends to top the list. Junipher Greene disbanded in the 80’s, but for last few years they have reunited, doing at least one concert at Rockefeller in Oslo in January/February.
I had never seen Laura Mwula, neither heard any of her music before the Oya festival in Oslo in August. Her concert was a joy, both audibly and visually. Laura Mwula’s music is a mix of classic pop, jazz and soul, and you can check out her album Sing To The Moon to hear her music.
Natalie Maines is the singer of the Dixie Chicks. This year she has released her solo CD, Mother. She showcased the songs at a concert at the SXSW this year, and I was impressed. I also liked that her father Lloyd Maines played steel guitar with her on stage. My next wish will be to see the Dixie Chicks together again.
Honningbarna is one of the most exciting newer Norwegian bands. All their concerts are high energy happenings with the straight dressed singer/cellist Edvard Valberg jumping frenetically around on stage. Their punky attitude and catchy songs is a great mix, and of the three times I have seen them this year, I will probably rate the by:Larm concert in February as the best.
The concert at the Oya festival in August was my first concert with Slayer. Hopefully not my last. Their energy is high, and they play hard and brutal metal.
The first time I saw Carrie Rodriguez, she played with Chip Taylor. They had just released their first duo CD, Let’s Leave This Town, with the the Austin tribute song Sweet Tequila Blues. After some years as a duo, Carrie Rodriguez went solo, and I saw her doing great concerts in 2007 and 2009, before I saw her again at Buckley’s in Oslo this year. Her way of delivering her songs is intense and to the point, and her fiddle playing is of the best kind.
One of the gerat things about seeing so many concerts, is that I get to see new bands that I haven’t seen or heard about before. The Local Natives is one such band. They play catchy songs with some good harmonies, and their live performance is straight, but lively.
Lucinda WIlliams is one of the front artists of the Americana genre. She has been around for years and has released numerous great albums. LIve she can be both good and also quite trite, depending on her mood. I have seen her a few times, once really bad and many very good. The concert at the Rockefeller concert hall in Oslo was one of the good ones.
The man who wrote Have I told You Lately will always have a star in my book, whatever else have done. When it comes to Van the Man, he will stand out as one of the greatest artists in popular music for the last 40-50 years. My absolute best Van Morrison concert was at the Norwegian Wood in 2000, while his concert at La Zona Rosa during SXSW in 2008 is a good #2. The concert at Notodden in August was also a good one.
One of the strongest debut artists in Norway this year is Monica Heldal. Even before she released her first CD, the buzz was on, and she has played at several festivals this year. In October she released her first CD, Boy From the North to great reviews.
Shining is one of my favorite Norwegian metal bands. Their unique mix of jazz and metal has got a lot of fans in Norway and abroad, and they have won several prices for their music. Of the five concerts I have seen with them this year, the one at by:Larm in Oslo was the best.
My best 15 concerts will follow soon ….
All pictures are © Per Ole and must not be used without written permission.