It has been a while since such a panel was assembled in a Tromsø live venue: Four bands playing Old School Rock/Punk/Metal gathered for a night of convivial sonic insanity and camaraderie. But to be fair, Utropia was mostly present for one of them: 666! North-Norway’s oldest and truest Metal band! Indeed it has been quite some time (a year? two? hard to remember) since the quintet last performed publicly. This insufferable wait was thankfully over on the first of April with the occasion of the “Aprilsnarr” (“April Fools”) concert at the Verkstedet stage of Kulturhuset.
Text: Lyonel Perabo
Preceding 666 were two Punk, or punky bands, LORRYLORRY and RUMBLIN RETARDS and the final band of the evening, closing the show following 666’s performance was local favorites NIKKEBY LUFTHAMN. Each of these bands received quite the welcome from the generally cheerful and, as the evening went by, increasingly inebriated audience.
The first band of the evening was LORRYLORRY, an Old School Punk-Rock band singing in North-Norwegian. Their singer, expressing himself through a megaphone, seemed quite driven by their songs’ lyrics while his bandmates delivered a rather powerful and catchy flow of riffs and rhythms. The band’s performance ended with a cover of, if I understood correctly, the British protest-singer Billy Bragg which fit very well with the band’s original Norwegian-language material.
The second band to play was RUMBLIN RETARDS and it was one of the weirdest and yet oddly fascinating bands I’ve seen live in quite a while. The band’s musical style could best be described as Anti-Christian Hardcore Surf Rock which does not even start to express how awesome the band’s sound really was. Mixing some really heavy, nerve-hitting Hardcore riffing with bluesier, garage-surf melodies, the band topped this already singular mixture with pretty anti-religious lyrics and imagery. Few bands could make such an odd mix work, but RUMBLIN RETARDS did that masterfully, even enticing a moshpit half-way through their performance. A fascinating outfit I’m glad I finally got the chance to see live.
After these entertaining retards came the evil bunch of 666. Fronted by rock-n-roll crusader Tor Arne, the band blasted their way through a forty-minute long setlist, aptly mixing old classics and modern songs, all of which electrified the audience in equal measure. The quintet, which benefited from a great sound-mix, played what they’re best for: Old School Hard/Heavy Metal with lots of guitars, completely free from any blasphemies like slow tempo, or technical convolutions. Just plain rock-n-roll like it should always be!
Navigating between 80s-penned songs, newly-written tracks and even a few covers (Mötley Crüe and AC/DC, good stuff indeed!), each and every song of these old ruffians was really enjoyable, and if the band was relatively static except for their theatrical singer, the quality of these Old School songs, written either in or in the style of, the 80s, back when the very word “Metal” hadn’t really fully coalesced yet, largely made it up for it; especially the hard-hitters “666” and even more so, “Alkohol”.
To be honest, I think that this must have been the best concert 666 has played since they reformed four years ago. It is pretty hard to think of the band as a nostalgia act anymore. These guys are just really good for rockin’ around and, judging by the audience’s reaction that night, I reckon 666’s rise from the abyss won’t be stopped anytime soon!
In any case, shortly after the quintet’s performance, NIKKEBY LUFTHAMN took the stage to close the evening off with less extreme, yet punchy Garage songs which delighted the now pretty smashed concert-goers. All in all, this first concert of the spring was a delightful way to warm up for the summer to come, when the sun will never set on the countless live-venues and watering holes of Tromsø, the Rock n’ Roll City!