When it comes down to it, music is all about personal taste. Put ten people into a room and ask them to pick their favourite artists. How likely would it be that they would all choose the same names? Surely whatever artist crossover there might be would be unlikely to result in a similar choice of go-to songs?
Music makes the world go around, as do love, cute animals, chocolate and gin (not necessarily in that order). For those of us for whom music is a consuming passion, picking favourites and making recommendations from across as wide a spectrum as the line up on offer at Øya2016 is one bloody difficult task.
However, there are times when the fence becomes just that bit too hard, and one feels the need to jump off and, as the song goes, “express yourself”. So, without any intention to cause offence or personal injury … just cos a certain band ain’t on this list, don’t mean I don’t rate them … here are my personal Norwegian must sees during Øya this week.
From the moment I heard this gal’s voice I fell in love with its overwhelming emotional depth and ferocious honesty. Hanne Kolstø sings songs crafted with visceral feeling, penned with the ink of experience and delivered with a searing openness that strips her bare of any places behind which to hide. Self-deprecating, achingly funny and very, very real, Kolstø is a wonderfully charismatic performer with a rare, unfailing ability to get under the skin of her audience. Kolstø doesn’t just connect, no, she touches the very raw nerve of those who go to see her mesmerising live performances. Having earlier this year released the album ‘Live at Tøyenkirken‘, a piano acoustic rework of some of her best known and loved songs which received huge critical acclaim, without doubt Hanne Kolstø is one of the live must sees of Tuesdays KlubbØya club-carnivale. Hanne plays Internasjonalen at 9pm.
Unfortunately Hanne clashes with Sgrow … that’s life, this is what festivals are all about … personal challenges and making tough decisions. Following the plot ain’t easy on club night and in order to see out the full Kolstø performance I must also forego seeing The Hallway. On top of that I am then left with the nightmare of choosing between Therese Aune and Panda Panda. Sorry guys, the Pandas have it.
Hailing from Trondheim, this relatively new young band only recently signed to the Riot Factory label, are building up to the release of their debut album. The first EP, Millions, was a tearaway success, and from what I can gather new music in on the cards for their set at Subscene. Their brand of vibrant, multi-coloured, youthful indie with its delightful golden vocal duets fuels quite the rush of sonic serotonin; if you don’t walk away from seeing Panda Panda play live feeling uber-energised then I strongly recommend you go to a GP to get your pulse checked! They’ll hit the Subscene stage running at 10pm and if their KlubbØya performance is even only half as good as that at Trondheim Calling, they’ll rock the roof off the joint.
Another clash on club-night means I’ll miss out on seeing Toothfairy rising star, Strangelove. He plays The Villa at 9pm and if electronic genius is your thing, then Strangelove is your guy.
Wednesday however, proves more lucky when it comes to Toothfairy artists. The sublime ARY will take to the stage at the rescheduled time of 5.50pm having switched slots with SKEPTA. With whispers of new music tingling the ears, and after spending the Summer honing her live performance across a pretty extensive Euro circuit, ARY’s set at Øya should be pretty special. Possibly one of the best of all the emerging new talents rising through the mists of the Oslo skies, ARY is definitely one to watch and without doubt one of my top picks for this years festival. ARY plays the Sirkus stage, 17.50 Wednesday 10th.
Farao … just the name alone conjurs up images of a modern day Amazonian Queen. Strong, powerful, hugely talented, ably creative, Farao is one musical class act. Now based in Berlin, she is currently working on new music for her second album. If it’s quality is even a shadow of its predecessor, it will be mind blowingly good. Friends with other female powerhouse EERA (and with a voice and style not too dissimilar) Farao is by now a well seasoned performer and her set on the Hagen stage, 4.55pm Friday, should be one to remember.
It is an absolute heart-breaker for me that (due to personal reasons) I will miss the first chance that has presented itself to me to see Anne Lise Frøkedal play live. One of my top three fave Norwegian artists, I could listen to the sweet melodia of that voice forever and never tire of it. If anything Frøkedal’s ‘picturesque‘ folky cum indie music transports me mind, body and soul into another world – one of peace, contentment and mindfulness.
Her album ‘Hold On Dreamer‘ has been one of the best album releases this year and with several hit singles lifted from its grooves, Frøkedal has pretty much cemented her reputation amongst the critical few who do the acclaiming! It is with a heavy heart that I will get on that plane back to Dublin knowing that one of the best sets of the festival has yet to come, and that I alas, won’t be around to enjoy it. Frøkedal and her band Familien will play the Amfiet stage at 3.55pm on Saturday … say hi from me and enjoy!
Finally if there is any band I could ‘suade you to go see, it would be Bergen boys, Electric Eye. You ain’t seen a gig if you ain’t seen an Electric Eye gig. These guys blew the roof of their by:Larm venue back in March and ripped shreds out of SWSX and their latest album Different Sun was in altogether a different league. Their more than masterful instrumental abilities and stonking psych sounds will have your heart pounding, pulse racing and brain whirring in no time.
Their live set is beyond bloody brilliant … miss it, YOUR LOSS. These guys are better than good at what they do, the are THE BEST. Psych crafted with magic-infused guitars, sitars and synths and drumming that is more alive than the sapient pearwood ‘luggage’ in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld series. Electric Eye are my TOP TIP for Øya2016 – they’ll set fire to the Sirkus stage at 3.05pm Saturday 13th.
Norway’s Øyafestivalen runs from Tuesday 9th to Saturday 13th inclusive. Full details of the club night and Toyenparken programme can be found on their official website, available in both Norwegian and English.