Monday, November 17, 2008

Katzenjammer Live at Rockefeller

Does anyone remember my less than super fun Saturday last weekend? I almost hope not. ;-) But I'm happy to report that I had a much better time this Saturday. Yay. :-) This time nothing went wrong (even though the neighborhood I was in was evacuated earlier in the day because of a fire in a restaurant kitchen, but it was all over and done with by the time we got there). A good time was had by all.

OK, so, what did I do? I went to a concert … a concert by a band which I can pretty much guarantee that almost no one reading this post has ever heard about. They're kind of local … so far … and even around here they aren't that big. Yet. ;-) They’ve played in various places around the country though, and they've gotten fantastic reviews for their concerts. I had never seen them live before (well, except on youtube and on TV, which doesn't count) so when I heard they were playing at Rockefeller, one of the most important live music stages in Oslo, I really wanted to go … partly because I've been hearing so many good things about them, and partly because one of the band members is a childhood friend of mine. I've seen her perform live before but not with this band. So, yeah, I really wanted to go. I had been planning to invite KAS and trilltrall over for dinner that night but instead of calling with that invitation I called to ask if they wanted to go to the concert. They had never heard of the band before, but after checking them out on youtube and downloading some songs thought it sounded like a great show. So I bought three tickets.

OK, so it isn’t strictly true that nothing went wrong … Read on ...

But first, about the band. They're a four-piece band, all women, and they're called Katzenjammer. Their music is, umm … kind of indescribable. They have a word for it, I don't remember what that is now (it's very long and perhaps not entirely translatable) but I'll do my best to share it with you in my next post. :-) They are a rather unusual band though. First off they play a lot of instruments … drums, guitar, piano, banjo, ukulele, trumpet, cello, balalaika … and also some things that aren’t really instruments, like cookie tins and miniature glockenspiel. But what's so cool is that they all take turns playing almost all of the instruments, so that between songs they run around on stage switching places and putting away some instruments and picking up new ones. :-) So they're fun to watch, and quite impressive. They also all sing. They play their own original music – they write some of their own material and they work with a regular songwriter on the rest of it. Their songs are melodious and have interesting lyrics … pretty much everything is just really good about this band. :-) They recently released their first CD, Le Pop – this was about two months ago and they've gotten mostly rave reviews. Not all, but mostly.

You can check out their website here (choose Norwegian or English on the front page) or you can visit them on MySpace here. Some of their songs (they sing in English) are available from iTunes, but maybe just from the Norwegian store, I don't know. I'm proud to say I know pretty much nothing about iTunes. ;-) Anyway …

I was going to go with KAS and trilltrall, but unfortunately, on – I want to say Thursday – KAS got sick. I don't know with what, nobody knows, it's something weird that she's had once before, quite recently, and even after running tests from here to eternity the doctors can't figure out what it is. Or why it went away the first time or why it's come back now. >:-( But in any case she couldn’t go. For 'she', read 'they'. trilltrall is a worrier. (I am too in this case, I hate that they can't say what it is … !!) KAS wanted me to find someone else to use the tickets. They weren't that expensive, I paid 155 crowns for each of them (I got a discount, full price would have been 200 – ooh) but still, it'd be a shame to just not use them. And it wouldn't be much fun to go alone. Fortunately I was able to convince some other friends of mine, the perfectly normal Dag Erling and his lovely wife K, that it would be a great idea for them to go with me, even though they also had never heard of the band. :-) Thanks for coming with me, guys – I had a great time. :-) And Dag Erling, I can't wait to see you in your polkadot dress at the next concert … ;-)

Anyway! :-) We had a great time, the concert was fantastic, I'm really sorry I've never gotten around to go see them live before. They were really great. Their music is beautiful, which I already knew - it doesn't sound like katzenjammer!! ;-) - they are very good at both playing and singing and they had lots of stage presence and lots of, as loath as I am to use the word, energy. They were obviously soo extremely happy to be there and it really showed. :-) The opening act I'd never heard of, and it's been no loss – they were OK as far as it went but IMO nothing special. It was pretty obvious that Katzenjammer were the ones the crowd was there to see. They have some very devoted fans considering they haven't been around that long. And on Saturday I think they got a couple more. ;-) It was great to see Marianne, my old friend, again – I hadn't seen her since forever – and her parents too, it was like a mini reunion. Her father had had a few beers and he was so happy to see me that he had to hug me twice. :-D Marianne was overwhelmed by the response – and they all said before they went off stage that this was their biggest and best concert ever – the following won't mean much to non-Norwegians, but get this, they sold out at Rockefeller. IMO, for a relatively unknown band with one very recent album behind them, that's pretty impressive on a Saturday night. The doors opened at 9pm and at 9:30 all the tickets were gone (they can admit 1350 people). Marianne's brother told me that he'd heard that people on the street outside were offering 750 crowns for a ticket. :-o So K and Dag Erling, you see what a sacrifice I made for you … !!

Well … as I said, a good time was had by all. :-) I'm so glad I went. Now here for your viewing pleasure are some pictures that I took (although it was not allowed, shame on me) and please come back tomorrow for something even better slash worse, namely videos that I filmed during the concert and my first ever giveaway on this blog! :-D Yay, &c.

The stage before the show.

The opening band, Lady Moscow. Meh.

Setting up for Katzenjammer.

Their banner went up …

… the instruments came out and … wheeee!!! :-D

Lots of energy and excitement both on stage and in the audience.

A guest performer came onstage for a couple of the songs, she played violin. V. pretty music.

One banjo good, two banjos better.

Various antics were observed onstage …

My childhood friend Marianne with the smiling bass balalaika. Aw.

Four happy young ladies at the end of their concert …

… their fantastic concert! :-D They so deserved to be pleased with themselves, they all gave wonderful performances, the band as a whole was fantastic and the audience had a great time. :-)

To see a few more pictures (several very blurry!!) go here. And of course, if you ever get the chance to see these girls perform live, don't miss it!! :-)


Paz said...

"Their music is, umm … kind of indescribable. They have a word for it, I don't remember what that is now..." D'OH

Paz said...

At least it was a good day

Paz said...

sorry for all the comments, a bit discombobulated today, they seem to be a mix between Brel and Bluegrass and venture to many other genres along the way.

KAS said...

I HATE that I missed this.

Leisha Camden said...

I know ... :-(

We should all have gone! And NyxRo and N. too. And ... whoever. :-) We would have had fun ... but there will be more concerts and next time they're playing somewhere in the city, we'll go then. We'll make a pact. ;-)

Yeah, it was a good day - better than last weekend (though that doesn't say much ;-) - I will post that weird descriptive made up word very shortly. Your description is actually very good. How do you think it fits with the actual music now that you've had a chance to hear some of it?