Spring is slowly returning to the arctic, and its people are starting to shake off the icicles of lethargy. Some decide to go for a swim in the still-freezing water, others would rather have a cup of tea outside on a Sunday afternoon, and a select few like to go and have the time of their lives jumping and screaming along with their favorite band.
Text: George Stoica
For that last category, one of the major events of early spring took place in Driv on Saturday, March 5th, when Ondt Blood, joined by openers Jabba, ushered in the new season and gave new meaning to the phrase “spring fever”. What resulted was one of the most crowded concerts I’ve attended so far, and definitely one of the best.
Let’s start at the beginning: Jabba. Now, there is only one thing that can happen when you see a black Rickenbacker propped up ominously against an Ampeg half-stack: strap in grandma, the doom-machine is about to bring the roof down! Jabba ripped into a set that proved you don’t need a five-piece band to lay down a groove. And what a heavy groove at that! I don’t know if it was intentional or just the initial nervousness dissolving as they went along, but their songs and performance seemed to get better as the concert progressed, until at the end I just didn’t want to see them leave the stage. If you’re a fan of Talbot and basslines occasionally complemented by synth-like envelope filter, but want something rawer that has the dankness of Papa Cisneros thrown into the mix, definitely check out Jabba!
Photo: Lyonel Perabo
Ondt Blod were up next and they came onstage greeted by a very enthusiastic crowd of all ages. This is what surprises me in a very pleasant way when it comes to concert crowds in Tromsø, everyone enjoys the music, even if only for the entertainment value. The venue was packed, and yet the crowd still managed to pull off a serious moshpit whose vortex unfortunately pulled our brave photographer under eventually. He suffered such a severe case of “the pits” that he had to be emergency-crowdsurfed out of there. You will live on in our hearts and spleens, oh valiant child of the night!
But to get back to the concert. Ondt Blod boasts no less than four people at the microphones, and that gives some of their choruses a powerful, tiered voice that pushes through the raw savagery of their guitar attacks. Finally a concert where things get LOUD! Safety aside, I pity those who had to wear earplugs, I think they missed out on a lot. Kudos for the drum setup, and this applies to Jabba as well, since the kick drum sound was amazing, punchy and clear. Do not let the hardcore label given to Ondt Blod fool you: there will be some serious sludgy whiplash-inducing riffs that take you by the head and shake the living daylights out of you. The band are not only tight but have a great sense of audience interaction. Aslak came off the stage not just once, to sing among the fans and stir up the energy of the crowd.
Photo: Lyonel Perabo
I’d also like to mention the wonderful staff on hand for the concert, who handed out water bottles to the ravenous beasts writhing in the moshpit. That was very cool of them! Beasts are people too, and need to stay hydrated.
All in all this was one of the most exciting and action-packed concerts in recent time, and you could see that the release of all that pent-up energy was good for everyone. The hairy and immortal Robin Williams once said: “Spring is nature’s way of saying “Let’s party!”. Well, then I guess spring has come back with a vengeance!