The Oya festival 2015 has started, and the first day is over. The headliner on the big stage was Chic featuring Nile Rodgers, while In Flames closed in the tent stage, Sirkus. Before that, there was music on 6 stages for 9 hours, from 2 until 11 PM. Here are the bands I managed to see yesterday. (Photo above: Nile Rodgers from CHIC)
The first band at the festival was Razika. They played the big stage, Amfiet, and already there was quite a big crowd on the lawn before the stage. Razika is a hard working and very competent band from Bergen, playing a slightly punky and personal version of ska. So far they have released three albums. Live they are lively and well played, and I aways get a good feeling when I see them.
After Razika I saw The Switch from Oslo on the second stage, Vindfruen (The Wind lady). They are a new band and have just released their debut album, B For The Beast. Musically they are in the organic pop landscape, with some really good harmony vocals and good arrangements. I get associations to west coast, some 60’s and also the more melodic indie pop bands like Fleet Foxes. I will definitely check them out and
After The Switch Fay Wildhagen entered the main stage. She is also a new artist, 21 years old, having just released her debut album, SNOW. I have heard a lot about her, but never seen her live before today, and I loved her style and her music. She reminds me of a female Thomas Dybdahl, with very intense, low key parts, exploding in rocky parts where she treats the guitar like a pro. Another reference could be St. Vincent in the way she moves on stage. I am glad I finally got to see Fay Wildhagen, and I will try to see her more. So far this year, she has played at Roskilde, Træna and Oya – not bad for a debutante.
At The Gates were next on Vindfruen. They are, what I would consider, a straight death metal band, with fast songs, high energy, and a singer, Tomas Lindberg, who is running around on the stage. The band started out in 1990, and they are still active. I saw they last at the Blastfest in Bergen this winter.
The first time I saw Belle & Sebastian was at the Stubb’s during SXSW in Austin in 2006. I remember that I liked their easy flowing, but still complex pop songs then. Since their start in 1996 they have released 9 albums, the latest being Girls In Peacetime Want to Dance. They have been hailed by the critics for their music during the years, but have never got quite the commercial success they deserve. At Oya they did a stellar job, and the audience (and the critics) loved them.
After Belle & Sebastian I went over to the Sirkus tent to some more metal rock, namely Norway’s own Enslaved. They delivered a solid concert, as usual. Their music is based on the Norse history of the Vikings, mixed with traditional balk metal. They also have their own sound, where the vocals are split between Grutle who does the growling, while Herbrand does clean singing.
The War On Drugs were next at Amfiet, and they must be one of the most hyped bands this year. The band started out in 2005, but for their commercial and artistic breakthrough in 2014 with the album Lost In The Dream. Their music reminded me of many things, which can often be a good thing with bands you haven’t sen or heard before. I liked The War On Drugs. Even if their didn’t do much on stage, their music is more than enough.
Last out on Vindfruen Wednesday was Sondre Lerche. He has been around for 15 years, making good music, and he has also had success in the US writing music for movies and TV-series. I have always liked his music and his performance. It is positive, well thought out, often with original twists. At Oya he had put the band on a riser at the back of the stage, giving himself space to walk, jump and dance around on the stage. The concert was filmed, so we can hope to see a video of it later on.
The grand finale Wednesday was CHIC with Nile Rodgers. He is the only original member of the band, but that doesn’t matter at all with both the band and also Rodger’s catalogue of songs. And with musicians and singers from the top shelf, it was a concert to remember. I have been to Oya for several years, but I have never seen disco dancing in the photo pit, from the personnel in the bars and as much in the audience.
CHIC is best known for Freak Out, and we got it together with a smorgasbord of disco hits. From Le Freak to their newest single, I’ll Be There. Between them we also heard a medley of songs Nile Rodgers have written and/or produced for other artists: Madonna (Like A Virgin), Diana Ross (Upside Down and I’m Coming Out), David Bowie (Let’s Dance), and his latest collaboration, Get Lucky by Daft Punk.
I was specially impressed with both the female singers, Kimberley Davis and Folami. They have their own personal voice, and they also do excellent solos, while their harmony singing with Rodgers was pitch perfect. Jerry Barnes played bass so I almost want to give up my own playing. Together with drummer Ralph Rolle, they presented one of the tightest rhythm sections I have heard in a long time. Disco might be commercially dead, but it is good to hear the creme de la creme from one of the the creators.
All pictures are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.