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The weekend of November 8-10, the Norwegian blues community celebrated itself in a large-scale blues invasion of London.
The finale was in the very large parlor of concert venues in London, and perhaps in the world, namely the Royal Albert Hall. And what a brilliant weekend it was! Both artists, organizers and the audience beamed about the race after the final note died out on Sunday night. The Norwegian Blues Adventure delivered tremendously!
Success for Norwegian blues weekend in London
To achieve something like this, you need a man with big and crazy ideas, as well as a dedicated team that can put your dream to life. Long-time player in the Norwegian blues community, Eric Malling, had the idea, and the company Koment, Norwegian Blues Union and many volunteers provided the implementation.
Blues in church
Friday night there was a blues concert for the Norwegian Seamen’s Church in London. Eric Malling visited London on May 17 to promote the event for London-resident Norwegians. That trip led to a good relationship with the people at Seamen’s Church, so why not start right there?
The Seaman’s Church in London is located in the Bermondsey area, and is an important point of reference for Norwegians living in London. The small church turned out to house a nice lounge area, and further into is the church room itself. The atmosphere was very nice and the crowd was a mix of visiting blues fans and locals. The music this evening, the duo Jolly Jumper & Big Moe and Reidar Larsen, together with Arne Skage, stood for. They each did their own section before finishing with Mahalia Jackson’s Go Tell it on the Mountain.
And it is almost needless to mention that the evening ended with the venue being sold out for beer!
Jolly Jumper & Big Moe at the concert at the Seamen’s Church in London. (Photo: Per Ole Hagen).
Vorspiel on Subterania
Saturday was the day before the day, and as it should be heard and should be time for vorpiel. This evening it was the Norwegian Blues Union that was responsible for the program and the event, which was held at the Subterania rock club in the Portobello area. There were two concerts that day, both at 4pm and 8pm, with the same program.
In the first part of the concert, this year’s union band, Maldito, played before Pristine, Reidar Larsen with band and Eric “Slim” Zahl & The South West Swingers were in the fire. In the second part of the concert was Notodden Blues Festival Roadshow husband, while various artists guest on stage. In turn, J.T. Lauritsen, Daniel Eriksen, Hans Bollandsås and Helene Misund, Trond Ytterbø, Åste Sem, Spoonful of Blues and Joakim Tinderholt.
Chaplain Jostein Forsberg made sure to tie it all together effectively.
For us in the audience it was a fantastic concert, with a lot of varied music. The exchanges between the artists went fast, making sure people didn’t lose the mood and thread along the way. The room was good, with stands down in front of the stage as well as a gallery with both standing and seating upstairs.
On stage at Subterania: Arne Skage, Morten Omlid, Joakim Tuinderholt, Jostein Forsberg, Tony Caddle and Daniel Eriksen. Below: Jostein Forsberg tied together the many musical elements. (Photo: Per Ole Hagen).
Pristine delivered a sparkling performance. (Photo: Per Ole Hagen).
Well back at the hotel, no one would go to bed, and we are not surprised if turnover records were set at the bar in the early night. The delicious blues caramel we had all wanted to suck a little extra time on!
Norwegian show in London’s Great Hall
As Åge (Aleksandersen) sang in his big hit from 1975, it is far back to the Royal Albert Hall for Norwegian bands. Sunday night in London broke this myth as Norwegian musicians entered the prestigious stage and delivered a concert night that will not be overstated at first.
Royal Albert Hall was erected in memory of Queen Victoria’s husband, German Prince Albert. Victoria loved her husband dearly and was crushed when he died in 1861, just 42 years old. For the rest of her life, Victoria wore mourning clothes. The hall was inaugurated in 1871, and nothing should be saved during the construction. Even today, the concert arena is sensational. The stage is framed in deep red velvet, as well as seats at several heights. There was also seating on the floor in front of the stage.
Around the hall there are walkways all around, and on the walls you can see pictures from live performances in the hall. There is pomp and splendor for all the money, and a very beautiful hall. Most of the audience came early, and took the opportunity to look around and visit one of several bars.
Initiator of the big event in London, Eric Malling, thanks the audience and artists from the scene. (Photo: Per Ole Hagen).
Eric Malling had pulled in the fine station for the occasion, posing in sober tuxedo, which was just right. He welcomed Royal Albert Hall and The Norwegian Blues Adventure, and was probably influenced by the moment. He left the stage to Vidar Busk, who, wearing newly purchased white suit from Camden, started tonight’s show with his song I Came Here To Rock – and then the fun started.
Amund Maarud served as chaplain this evening and was also constantly watching and listening to the guitar. As a “narrator” between some elements, we could hear Bill Troiani’s voice.
Vidar Busk set the standard for the show with the opening song “I Came Here To Rock”. (Photo: Per Ole Hagen).
The different artists played one to four songs each. The musicians went on and off the stage, visiting each other’s performances. Besides Vidar, Amund Maarud, Kurt Slevigen, Bjørn Berge, Trudy & Dave, Ronnie Jacobsen, Terje Nordgarden, Magnus Berg, Kid Andersen, Tor E. Bekken, Richard Gjems, Tora Dahle Aagård and Knut Reiersrud played.
Drums and percussion took care of Henrik Maarud and Martin Windstad, and the bass job was shared between Bill Troiani and Rune Endal. A wonderful wind series with Bendik Brænne on saxophone, Petter Marius Gundersen on trumpet and Hans Foyn Friis on trombone color for many of the artists.
Like the night before, the music mix worked optimally. The scenes changed lightning fast, and the musical got the audience everything from americana to both old and more modern blues. The sound was very good and the sound in the beautiful hall was adventurous.
Best of all, perhaps the great soundscape came to light when Dr. Bekken and Richard Gjems played their song Midisjollin, based on folk tunes from Finnskogen. With just piano and harmonica they enthralled the audience with extraordinarily beautiful music, and were able to raise the evening’s most intense applause.
Guitar power in “The Hall”: From v. Amund Maarud, Knut Reiersrud, Kurt Slevigen, Vidar Busk, Ronnie Jacobsen, Kid Andersen and Tora Dahle Aagård. (Photo: Per Ole Hagen).
The technical was supported by Jan Olav Sandsmark (sound), Per Marius Larsen (light), Pål Emil Storm-Berg (backline) and Stig Kamonen (monitor and technical coordination), and everything worked very well.
The music lasted from 7pm to 10:30 pm, including a half hour break. At the end, the program cracked a bit, and the final song on the set program, Vidar Busks Stompin ‘Our Feet With Joy, had to be dropped, due to very stiff fines if the artists exceeded the agreed time. All in all, everyone was well pleased with what had been served from the stage, and broad smiles and the very large superlatives characterized the audience.
Chaplain Maarud thanked for the evening, and exclaimed that “I will never forget this”. And those words probably cover the feeling everyone else in the hall and on stage left with. A slightly devotional feeling of having been involved in something big and unique, right one night for the history books.
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