From Hell to Alaska – a musical purgatory

Foto: Sissel EIkeland

Music is a strange thing. Sometimes it’s about your mood, sometimes it’s about the complexity of the instrumentals, sometimes it’s about the lyrics, and sometimes it’s just about the general atmosphere it creates.

Photo: Sissel EIkeland

When I arrived on Thursday evening (09.02) in Kilden I had no idea what to expect.  I mean, my musical taste lies quite far from what a musician like Thom Hell or Jonas Alaska can offer me.  So, a bit skeptical but with my ears wide open, I entered the concert room and waited.

Thom Hell was the first artist to enter the scene and he played songs from his new album. Being familiar with his musical style I can say that the new songs were very typical for him and I couldn’t feel any new directions within his rhythms.  I think it is important for an artist to be able to get out of his established patterns and dare for more, to be diverse and experiment. This was not the case. But I could see he has many devoted fans when, for example, the whole room was trembling in applauses when he began to sing Over you.

The last song from Hell was performed with Jonas Alaska and it was an interesting combination. Interesting doesn’t necessarily mean good.

Hanne Kolstø was the second one to go up the stage and I must admit she is quite amazing in what she is doing. The way she can handle the guitar effects and the loop station is impressive.  She has a beautiful voice and created a very special mood that took me into the realm of the esoteric, of contemplation.  Her new album “Riot Break” is a good example of experimentation and music playfulness.  She kept me caught up in her music up to the end and left me with a bitter-sweet taste after she left the scene, like a breathtaking sunset going down behind some mountains far, far away.

Erlend Ropstad, the next on the list, didn’t have such a good start. Maybe singing in English doesn’t suit everyone and he made up for it when he shifted the language and sang in Norwegian.  I can’t say I was particularly fond of his performance and it felt more like he was an intermezzo after Kolstø and before Alaska.

The last on the stage was Jonas Alaska and enchanted the ladies with his charisma and voice. I repeat, the ladies.  His most famous song October was welcomed with a long row of applauses and he ended the evening in a smooth way.

So, yes, this was one of those concerts where the general atmosphere and not necessarily the music takes you in a good, warm place. Maybe if the producers had put together bigger contrasts we would have been able to appreciate the individualism of the artists more. But like this, with so big similarities, it felt like a big melting pot where singularity was overcome and the audience experienced the concert as a variation on the same theme: sugary sentimentalism and blue emotions.

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Text: Ole Håvard Seland – ole.h.seland@unikumnett.no

Photo: Sissel Eikeland – sissel.eikeland@unikumnett.no

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