Festivals often bring you face to face with things you never knew you wanted, but now can’t live without. My find of the festival was Norwegian singer Kate Havnevik.
Arriving on stage in a puff ball floor length purple dress, she was part Bjork, part kooky French pop star Camille, mixed with The Cranberries haunting power. Her dramatic, sweeping vocals that span the full breadth of her voice, combined euphoric electronica with a breathtaking dynamism.
If there had been a roof on the main stage, Billy Talent would have taken it off. Inspired by The Clash, Rage Against the Machine and Jane’s Addiction, their sweat-soaked front man Ben Kowalewicz endeared himself to the moshers by professing his love for Norway and saying that his neck hurt because he had had his head turned so many times by Norwegian women.
Over at the Amfi stage, time was spent dappling in the sunshine for Modest Mouse. Tracks from their new album We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank created few ripples and waning attention could be measured by the amount of folk not looking at the stage but ferreting around for empty cups. Whilst the presence of Johnny Marr still had the quintessence of ‘it’ in abundance, Isaac Brock and the rest of the band just phoned in their performance from the tour bus.
Norway’s The Moving Oos have eight members who mix soul, funk, rock and gospel, and despite their low profile they’re rumoured to be Norway’s best live band. Fronted by the fresh Frankie Castello and backed by the beautiful harmonizing soul sisters Norma Lee and Lynn Gordon, the power house rhythms of bass player Roger Houston and drummer Sony Cute and percussionist Tony Cabaza, tracks from their debut album Peace & Love had real impact: Romancer a soul-rock ballad in the vein of The Faces, whilst Natural Man was pure energy.
Checking off Norwegian bands was a priority today and so I was also pitched up to see New Violators, a newly formed 5-piece from Trondheim, armed with a sound situated somewhere between Born to Run, Love Will Tear Us Apart and Bowie’s Let’s Dance.
Headlining today were My Chemical Romance, whose kohl eyed, plaid clad emo fans camped out at the foot of the main stage from early morning even though the band didn’t come on until 10pm.
The New Jersey rockers made the wait worthwhile for their troops with an awesome set featuring, Welcome To The Black Parade, Teenagers and Famous Last Words. With the arena full to capacity, moshpits breaking out everywhere and without any of the high-jinks from The Slayer fans. Marilyn Manson should indeed be flattered by such a tribute act. My Chemical Romance stole the show.
Over in the Amfi stage I rounded the festival off eating fizzy liquorice and watching The Gossip. Beth Ditto, in fluorescent pink T-shirt and black bra, belted the place with her voice.
The cold prevented any impromptu stripping. Instead we were treated to a cover version George Michael’s Careless Whisper, whilst Mangled Heart and Standing in the Way of Control rounded off the set. She certainly is a force to be reckoned with, but whilst her day-glo wonder and southern belle sweetness is warming, its also possible to agree with the critics who say all their songs sound the same.
Ambling back to my camper van , all I could think was: Hove. There truly is no place like it. Would I go back? You bet, but with more money, a thicker jumper and more friends. Hove is like gum, good to chew over, even better to share.
Hove: Day 1 |Hove: Day 2 |Hove: Day 3 |