Friday at Oya 2015 was a day with many Norwegian artists and bands, plus one very positive international surprise. The headliner this day was Beck, while Lars Vaular from Bergen was the closing artist in the tent. Before that we had folk, Americana, a performance, Ida Jenshus and many more. (Picture above: Samuel Herring from Future Islands)
Friday started with the Swedish band Amason. They had an interesting stage decoration with a polar bear, a badger and a raven.The band had some good songs, many of them about animals, like the moose, the elephant, the dove, and so on. Their debut album, Sky City was released this year, and their music is best described as elektro pop.
Jenny Hval is an interesting Norwegian artist. She is both a music, but also a performance artist, and her concert Friday at Oya was definitely a performance. Dressed in a plastic dress and a multicolored wig, and with three co-performers, dressed in white plastic with red paint and bathing balls covered with wet paint, we got her songs from her latest album, Apocalypse, girl. It was fun to watch, but a bit too demanding to me to see the whole concert.
Laura Marling is English, 25 years old, and won the Brit Award for Best British Solo Female Artist in 2011. She was also nominated for the same award for 2012 and 2014. She is a folk singer, and shows and impressive mastery of the guitar and of songwriting in the strong English tradition that hails from bands like Pentangle, Fairport Convention and others who combined traditional and modern in a mix, creating the unique folk rock. Laura Marling doesn’t say much on stage, but lets her music speak for itself. Her concert at Oya was a perfect welcome for all of us who had come early this sunny day.
The Norwegian band Restore To Past is a band that almost didn’t make it. They started out as a kind of a supergroup with members from many different bands ten years ago and started making their album that took almost 10 years to finish and release. During that time the members strongly disagreed on the direction of the band, until they finally released the self titled album last year. Their music has a distinct country rock, west coast flavor, with some good harmony singing and solid playing.
What can you say about Ida Jenshus that hasn’t been said already? She has released four albums so far, the least one this year, and she has already three Spellemann awards (The Norwegian Grammy) for her first three. Her latest album, Starting Over Again is so good that it would be no surprise if she gets her fourth Spellemann in January.
The good thing with Ida Jenshus is that she is an accomplished songwriter, guitarist and singer, often compared to Emmylou Harris. The best thing about her is that she follows her own muse, never going down the easiest and more commercial road. I have seen her several times the last years and I never grow tired of her. The concert at Oya was another concert to remember, and the audience loved her.
My first real surprise this day was Future Islands from Baltimore, USA. They started out in 2006 and released there albums before they changed record company and released their fourth album, Singles in 2014. A live performance of the single track from this album, Seasons (Waiting For You) became a YouTube hit, mainly because of singer Samuel Herring’s stage show.
On stage Samuel Herring reminds me a bit of a young, vital and philanthropic version of what Morrissey should have been. He has some moves that has to be seen, and his vocals is unaffected by his standing still, cossack dancing or his sudden explosions. Together with most of the people watching the concert, I was mesmerized, and I would put this concert high in my personal top 5 from this year’s festivals.
I took a break during Alt-J’s concert, having seen them in Bergen and not being very impressed by their kind of detached stage show.
Siri Nilsen is a Norwegian singer songwriter who has had critical success for her three releases since 2011. She sings in Norwegian and plays guitar and ukulele. She was nominated for a Spellemann for Best Female Artist in 2011. Her songs are strong and personal, and she has an impressive control of her voice. She doesn’t do much on stage, but comes forth through her personal interpretation of her songs.
I should have written something about Beck here, but 5 minutes before the concert, we photographers were told he had was a photo contract. Since they didn’t have it available (!), we were not allowed to take photos of the concert. Things like this is so utterly stupid, specially when you know that he played in Sweden the day before with no contract and 40 photographers in the pit. But if he doesn’t want publicity for his performance in Norway, he won’t get any from me, either.
Since I didn’t have to see Beck, I went over to the tent for the closing concert with the Norwegian hip hop artist Lars Vaular. I have seen him a couple of times before. Even if I am no particular fan of hip hop, I am impressed by his songs and his extremely good timing and delivery. The tent was filled to capacity and Vaular had impressive lights, using the whole stage for his show. It was a good way to close the Friday at Oya.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.