Total ‘must see’ for me during the Trondheim Calling music festival was the Saturday night Slutface gig at the legendary Øra Studio. The setup was at the back of the studio proper, in a room that was as high as it was wide – perfect acoustics – wood panelled with both walls and floor bedecked with rugs, artwork and shuttering. The smallish crowd of about 50 or so, spilled in – well small for TC but at 100% capacity for the room – and sat on the large deep pile rug. Not for long …
In bounced Slutface lead by feisty, tour-de-force frontwoman Hayley Shea, who instantly said the magic Norwegian words required to have the crowd jumping to their feet. That was the signal I was waiting for. Slutface have form for encouraging serious crowd interaction and sure enough, this 30 minute set was a masterclass in how to perform a top notch gig slam bang in the middle of your audience. Slutface literally sang while their fans were standing by their side – from my vantage point in the “wings”, it was compelling viewing.
Slutface ripped their way through a frenergetic turbo-charged set with more vim than a Dirty Vimto. ‘Shave my Head’, ‘Bad Party’, ‘Angst’ – each one sung at full pelt by Shea without once having a quiver in her voice. Trust me, it takes a lot to sing high-octane tracks non-stop for 30minutes without faltering at least once – and she didn’t – which goes to prove that Shea is much more than a mere competent singer. This girl has a driving, gutsy, wide-ranging vocal that she controls with a vice-like grip! It takes a lot of command and determination to be able to do that, particularly at such a young age, but then again, this IS Hayley Shea we’re talking about.
Musically, this was pure rocket fuel, with the guys giving a tight, well synced performance during which they never put a foot wrong. An hyper-active Lasse Lokøy knocked socks out his bass-guitar whilst performing adrenalin fuelled acrobatics through the crowd, while behind him, drummer Halvard Skeie Wiencke knocked seven shades of hell out of his drum kit – albeit very skillfully! Both of them double-jobbed as backing vocalists, which was a pretty good pull-off considering they were so physically interactive.
Tor-Arne Vikingstad is as fine a guitar player as I heard all weekend and he pretty much stripped the varnish off the panelling with the fire coming from his scorching guitarwork. The decibel level must have hit pretty close to 85dB, all the more amazing given the fact that Vikingstad & co were had been equipped with only two speakers!
The Slutface gig was the only one I attended during Trondheim Calling, where the artist 100% completely engaged with, and even more importantly, engaged the crowd, and the resultant energy that the crowd channeled back to the band, was electrifying. By the time the gig was half way through, the crowd, encouraged by Shea, had completely surrounded her, whilst she sang, pogoed and bounced like Jumping Jack Flash around the floor. (The only other band I saw interact in similar fashion were equally awesome fuzzpunkers, Rick Ashtray, who led by ‘Tambourine Man’, Chris Omdahl danced their way through the packed crowd on the final night in Dokkhuset).
This was one seriously fiery, hard hitting gig – alive and on fire – and one of the most energetic and animated of the festival. Slutface are a great band of the future, whose present is in a rapid ascendancy who gave a volcanic performance, memorable for its energy, honesty, musicianship, and, it’s unparalleled sense of “community” and unorthodox “meet and greet” style.
In a word, #Refreshing.