It has been a difficult task to choose my own favorite photos from 2016 among the 270 plus concerts I have photographed this year. I have shot concerts at outdoor stages, at big indoor venues and at clubs in varying weather and light conditions. I have shot big international artists and lesser known local artists, all of them doing their best to give their fans a great time. Here are my 15 favorite shots from 2016. (Photo above: The audience at Biffy Clyro’s concerts at Bergen Fest this summer)
#1 Ellie Goulding
This year I attended the Stavern Festival for the first time, and I also saw several artists I have never seen live before. One of these was Ellie Goulding. This summer she comes bak to Norway to play at Bergen Fest.
#2 Vintage Trouble
I have heard and seen a lot of Vintage Trouble before I saw them at the Bergen Fest. And they certainly lived up to their reputation. The live show from Ty Taylor and his band was certainly worth waiting for.
#3 Steve Vai
Of all today’s super guitarists, Steve Vai is one of the most extrovert and most conscious of giving his fans a show. The photo is from his concert at Rockefeller in Oslo in June.
#4 Maria Mena
Maria Mena is one of Norway’s best artists, and also one of our best songwriters. Her very personal lyrics have moved many listeners, and her Christmas song, “Home For Christmas” has become an instant Christmas classic. The photo is from her performance at the Stavern Festival this summer.
#5 Skjalg Raaen – AAage Aleksandersen Band
Aage Aleksandersen is one of Norway’s classic rockers, having played with his former band Prudence and as a solo artist since the late 60s. His band consists of excellent musicians, and Skjalg Raaen is one of them. He is also an athletic guitarist, jumping and swirling around on stage while playing. The photo is taken at the Stavern Festival this summer.
Ary is a new singer songwriter, and I saw her at by:Larm in March. In 2017 she will perform at SXSW. This autumn she had the opening song to NRK’s drama series, Nobel.
#7 PJ Harvey
Polly Jean Harvey is in a musical category by herself. She does her own thing without looking at what others do, and she is also successful on her own terms. I have seen her at SXSW and at the Norwegian Wood Festival earlier, and this summer she played at the Øya Festival.
Froeder is another new Norwegian artist with a personal approach to her music. She is a strong lyricist, and her music is a mix between indie and pop with heavy use of electronics. The photo is taken at the Øya Festival in August.
#9 Angelique Kidjo
I have seen Angelique Kiidjo once before, together wth Diana Reeves and Liuz Wright, but to see her with her own band, which I did at Bærum Kulturhus this autumn, is something else. She commands the stage, and at the end of the concert she invited the audience up for a dance.
#10 Rival Sons
Rival Sons like to play in Norway, which they have done several time with great success the last few years. This year I saw them at Tons of Rock in Halden, and as usual they delivered with aplomb.
#11 Nita Strauss and Ryan Roxie
Alice Cooper always know how to pick the best musicians, and his 2016 tour band was no exception. Here are his two excellent guitarists Nita Strauss and Ryan Roxie in a pose for the photographers at Tons of Rock.
I knew nothing about LEAF before I saw them at Midgardsblot, but I really liked what I saw and heard. They are a Dutch band that makes music with strong roots in the Norse history, mixing traditional instruments like harp, violin and different hand drums with careful use of electronics.
Inquisition started as a trash metal in Columbia in 1988, but later relodcated to Seattle and gradually changed to a black metal style. Guitarist and singer Dagon is a founding member and is the center of attention when on stage. In August they played at Midgardsblot.
#14 Devon Allman
Devon Allman is the son of Greg Allman, but has been a great artist on his own for a long time already. Last time I saw him was with the Royal Southern Brotherhood, but at Blues in Hell he played with his own band, one of my top ten concerts this year.
#15 Lars Vaular
I have on other occasions confessed that I am not much of a fan of hip hop. But I make a few exceptions, and Lars Vaular is one of them. He raps in Norwegian, and has written some truly intelligent and good lyrics. This summer he headlined at Bergen Fest in his home town to great applause from all his fans.
All photos are © Per Ole Hagen and must not be used without written permission.