Bergen Fest has risen to be one of the most exciting festivals in Norway. For a festival with a quite grown up audience, they have a varied lineup which spans from Blondie and ZZ Top to Joe Henry Lana Del Rey, John Mayer and The Dillinger Escape Plan. In between there are many well known and less known band in different genres. Here are some highlights from Thursday. (Picture above: Blondie)
The festival started with rain and North Mississippi Allstars. They played in Bergen in 2004, and since then they have got a new bassist, but are still a hard and gritty blues band. They Went down well with the audience, and actually the rain almost stopped during their set.
Next out was Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls. on the big stage. I must admit to not having heard him before, but I was impressed by his happy and friendly attitude coupled with some really good songwriting. Among the many songs he did, was Recovery. He also did some announcements and one whole song in Norwegian. Not the best, but the audience loved the effort.
After Frank Turner I ran over to the tent to hear Joe Henry. He has always been a musicians’ musician, and he complained about the sound from the other stage. I love his productions, specially on the almost iconic CD Don’t Give Up On Me by Solomon Burke, and he has his moments live, too. But I didn’t get carried away by his quite introvert songs.
Next out was Television. They have played together since 1973, split up, been together and split up, and now they are together again. I was never a big fan in the heydays, but I must admit their songs and not the least, their performance have its charm. Slightly out of tune some times, not all together, but charmingly so, and they had a dedicated audience who loved what they did.
At seven thirty Blondie entered the stage for a one hour set. They celebrate their 45 year anniversary, and they still rock hard. Their songs have become classics, and Debbie Harry is a young 68 year old singer. For an old band that has been off and on forever, they really did a good job, and – as many said – much better than they expected.
From Blondie I walked over to the second stage to see Bergen’s Audrey Horne. Unfortunately Anne Grete Preus started in the tent at the same time, so I missed her concert. Audrey Horne is a heavy metal band with members who also play in harder bands like Enslaved and Sahg. The band’s music has become more accessible, melodious and positive, and with their great musicianship, it is a pleasure to see and hear them. I will see and hear them again at Tons of Rock next weekend.
The last artist of the night on the big stage was Robert Plant. You can read about his concert here.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.