DrownedinSound is in Norway. DrownedinSound is at a festival. DrownedinSound is keeping a blog! Preview? Here.
Tuesday: (Adopts Big Brother voice) Dee-ah wun in dah Øya Festival… Oslo seems like a funny place. I was kind of half-expecting a palatial never-never land spirited away amongst the endless pines, but it looks kind of… ordinary. A bit scruffy-looking, with a predilection for buildings daubed in quirky shades of yellow and pink. It’s also sodding expensive for fags and booze, causing us to rue immediately our decision to purchase only one bottle of gin and six cans of ominously-titled Fatol beer at the duty free shop.
Still, the nightlife seemed surprisingly varied as we frequented a few of the bars playing host to warm-up shows for the festival. First stop was Mono, a pleasingly indie-looking grotto where a double-bass wielding Norwegian trio by the name In The Country had drawn a fair old crowd, impressing with their eloquently spun alt.country/jazz fraught with post-rock dynamics. There seemed to be a bit of a buzz about The Shout Out Louds over at John Dee, but I’m not really sure why – they’re a very pedestrian indie band; an bundle of anglophile rock and indie clichés with an elastic band round its cock and balls. After that we stopped off to see Cheese & Biscuit, who were spinning some leftfield eurodisco tunes and putting butts on the dancefloor. Having refrained from sampling the frighteningly expensive alcohol for most of the evening, our English sense of decorum and uptightness-to-the-point-of-neurosis points us in the direction of home and an early night.
Wednesday: Amazingly got up for breakfast, lured by the promise of the only free meal of the day. This is followed by a predictably inept performance at the meet-and-greet session laid on by our gracious hosts (and they really are gracious; in fact, to descend into platitudes for a moment, the locals on the whole are a rather smashing bunch), after which we move on to watch the festival proper kick off.
The site’s great; a medieval park five minutes’ walk from the city centre complete with ruins and an alleged ban on tent pegs, lest some careless reveller drives their steely rod through the undiscovered grave of a long-dead Scandinavian. I won’t go into too much detail into our musical adventures on the first half of the first day, but let’s just say it began with a beardy Norwegian bloke in a cycle helmet, continued through the thrilling drum-overkill of Japanese oddbods Boredoms and on to the druggy harmony pop of The Lionheart Brothers, before heading back for a healthy trawl through the first half of our prized bottle of gin. Luvverly.
Back onsite, and the rain’s falling by like the Scandinavian bands. Bonde Do Role are disco miscreants, content with prancing to the march of their own beat. Dropping 'The Final Countdown' and 'Summer Lovin'' mid-set probably shows as much imagination as their regulation jittering grooves - cultural ignorance or ironic shtick? Sophisticated school-disco chancers, their time in the sun should rival a snowman’s, but given today’s raving-mad climate y’never know.
Whineeeeeeeeehouseeeeeeeeeeee dropped out due to ‘nervous exhaustion’. A terrible, terrible replacement band was suspiciously forthcoming. Well, Norwegian duty free is really cheap. It’s actually quite difficult to say this with genuine sentiment, but I mean it from the bottom of my tired-out heart… GET WELL SOON AMY.
Nine Inch Nails have a fascinatingly large fanbase. Watching from the press area, half suspended above a lake, the light show was blinding. Knowing your work has been adultered by a superior being must be soul-destroying; like Picasso painting over a Walt Disney. Although ‘Hurt’ does sounds brilliant, impotent and self-aggrandising to the final chord, it’s in a different currency to Cash. What a terrible pun. On that note…
DiS in Norway is Alex Denney and Tom King. They’ll be back soon. Only to find we’ve chucked them out the house and changed the locks. The jet-setting bastards.