Sunday started just as beautiful as Saturday, except for some more wind and a few scattered clouds. The festival schedule started later than the day before, with fewer bands and artists, and the schedule was also more condensed, with less time in between. That was the good news. The better news is that there were many good concerts by Monica Heldal, Tom Odell, James Vincent McMorrow and Bow To Each Other, with John Mayer as the musical climax. (Picture above: John Mayer)
Monica Heldal has become the favorite for many Norwegians since we first saw her on stage two years ago. Since then she has released a critically acclaimed album and held many concerts. Most of them either alone or with an extra guitarist, but also with a full band, like yesterday in Bergen. Coming from Bergen, she got an extra warm welcome. She is definitely worth it – her songs are mature, they move people, and she is proficient on both guitar and vocals. I have never seen her with her band before, but I really liked the extra weight they provided.
O Martin is a new artist for me. He comes from not far from Bergen, but obviously doesn’t live around here. His music is singer songwriter oriented, and he played with bass, cello and drums. He got a heartfelt welcome from the audience who had a good time in the sun.
Next out on the second stage was James Vincent McMorrow. So far yesteday he was most “different” musically. His voice is really high-pitched, and his musicians did some beautiful harmony singing. The music is dreamlike with long static periods, and it worked like magic. I specially liked the band’s harmony singing – it isn’t often you hear precision like that.
Tom Odell is a newcomer who has entered the music scene fast and furious. Piano playing artists aren’t that usual, with the exception of Elton John, Billy Joel and Jamie Cullum, there aren’t that many who have survived as frontmen behind the piano. I must say that after having heard and seen Tom Odell, I have big faith in him. He has a strong voice, his band and music is melodic and loud with some fantastic harmony vocal work by all of them. He also has the look that at least many of the female gender in the audience liked, and that has never been a drawback in music business.
Bow To Each Other is a relatively new duo from the south west coast of Norway and Toronto. They got some good attention at by:Larm, the Norwegian showcase festival that is held in February. They play synth music with some fine vocal work and harmonies. At times quite beautiful, but it doesn’t get to me. Maybe because the only analogue instrument is the drum set.
John Mayer is a star, but to me he is first of all a very good singer, guitarist and songwriter, what I call a true musician. He attended the Berklee College of Music and released his first CD in 2001. In 2003 he won his first Grammy for Your Body Is A Wonderland. Since then he has released four albums and won 6 Grammys, plus been nominated 11 times.
In Bergen he played a mix of old and newer songs, He played – amongst the others an acoustic version of Heartbreak warfare, and after one hour came Waiting on the World to Change, the song he won a Grammy for best male vocals in 2007. John Mayer’s guitar skills are undisputed, and contrary to on his records, we got many short and longer guitar solos. He also let the drummer do a slolo as the introduction to Waiting on the World to change.
I didn’t see John Mayer when he played in Oslo last fall, but I am really happy to have seen him last night. The venue was packed, around 6000 people in all ages, and everyone wa satiisfied when he ended the concert after 1 hour and 45 minutes with Gravity where the whole audience sang along.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.