The Roskilde Festival 2005 kicks off on 30 June and lasts until 3 July. As always, the Norwegian contingent is ever present, both on stage and among the tens of thousands of spectators. This year’s Norwegian Roskilde line-up is strong, varied and diverse featuring such acts as Bjørn Berge, Datarock, Enslaved, Gatas Parlament, Jackman, Röyksopp and Skambankt.
Attitude is something Berge has in abundance – some label him the best one-man band in the world. Armed with little more than his pick, a voice reminiscent of gravel and broken glass plus his battered Takamine, Berge builds up a groove as strong as a full band and cops it off with vocals that sound as if the devil himself is snapping at his heels. Based in the blues but with additional influences ranging from hip-hop to funk, Bjørn Berge is an artist with few peers – neither in Norway nor abroad. He plays as if he had fifty sets of arms and twenty pairs of legs, and with an insatiable musical curiosity and appetite which will never allow him to become jaded or stuck in a rut. Berge has still got the rebellion and curiosity of youth in him with plenty of restlessness is in his blood.
Hailing from the much hyped Tellè-scene in Bergen, Datarock are a fine example of the willingness to explore and develop integral forms of expression that characterises the bands that have emerged from the capital of Western Norway (think Röyksopp and Kings of Convenience here). High profiled gigs at the Sonàr Festival in Barcelona and Norway's biggest festival, Quart, have earned them a reputation as a live act out of the ordinary. Following the Sonàr Festival appearance, Guardian (UK) singled out the act as one of the event's true highlights. Datarock's unique and deft mix of lo-fi pop, casio, disco, hardcore and rock has been featured on several successful international compilations, earning the band a loyal following outside of their native Norway. Datarock released their self-titled debut album earlier this month to great acclaim in domestic as well as international press.
Last autumn Enslaved's latest album 'Isa' was met with an unprecedented number of rave reviews and publications of Metal Hammer, Terrorizer and Scream calibre highlighted the release as album of the month. The album represents the crowning of a career that dates as far back as 1991, and 'Isa' stands out as one of Norwegian extreme metal's strongest albums in later years. The domestic launch of the album and subsequent rave reviews spawned a string of dates around Norway that were very well attended and earned the band some very positive live reviews. Earlier this year, Enslaved completed a very successful and extensive European tour that is likely to affect the turnout at their Roskilde show.
Left-wing, Norwegian-language hip-hoppers Gatas Parlament are renowned for their politically charged, blistering fast rhymes and infectious beats. With a solid following in Norway, courtesy of their acclaimed albums ‘Holdning over underholdning’ and ‘Fred, Frihet & Alt Gratis’, the stage is set for a fuelled live-show. The outfit made headlines last year when the US Embassy in Oslo filed a complaint to Norwegian police authorities on the grounds of a web-site, KillHim.nu, that was launched by Gatas Parlament as a protest against US President George Bush and the war on Iraq. The case was later dismissed by the police.
Former Wunderkammer front-man and highly respected motion picture director Pål Jackman returns in a new trio format. Jackman and his new band made their debut earlier this year at the Norwegian showcase/music industry festival/convention by:Larm to great acclaim. Influences from Wunderkammer’s East-European-tinged tunes are still abundant, but the new trio format allows Jackman to explore new aspects of his quirky, off-beat, challenging but also highly rewarding songwriting. The trio’s by:Larm shows left little doubt that this is indeed a band to watch.
This Tromsø/Bergen duo should not need any introduction. One of Norways biggest acts ever with mammoth sales of their groundbreaking ‘Melody A.M.’ album (Wall of Sound 2002) and countless high-profile live appearances. The duo is set for a comeback in June with their much anticipated sophomore album ‘The Understanding’.
Skambankt (translation: beaten to a pulp) shares a few members with another well-known former Roskilde act; Kaisers Orchestra. Oil-barrels and Tom Waitsesque tunes are replaced with Gibsons and full-throttle punk. Skambankt played a set of wicked gigs at this year’s by:Larm and have also managed to build up a growing following in Europe despite singing in a thick Stavanger-dialect. Their live-shows are full-octane and highly charged affairs that have earned them a loyal following in Norway.
Bjørn Berge, Artist