Santos Party House, Oslo, Norway
I recently spent the better part of two weeks in Norway covering a doubleheader of events in the capital city of Oslo - first the Santos Party House Annex during the World Snowboarding Championships and then the by:Larm Music Festival. The first part of my trip included shows with Turbonegro (who may be heading back to the US soon), Andrew WK & the WSC House Band, and Dropkick Murphys (who have shows coming up in Long Island and CT), and visits to Bergen, Voss (yes, like the water), and Flam. It's all detailed, many pictures included, below...
I arrived on a Friday morning after catching the red-eye, so to say that I was exhausted is an understatement. Of course with that exhaustion came feverish excitement which heightened in the train ride from the airport; serene/pristine snow-covered landscapes and quaint homes peppered the landscape on the quiet rolling hills of surburban Oslo.
Oslo is definitely a metropolis, but one with a sense of history and a reverence for the past. Rich with cutural centers and over 50 museums like the Munch Museum (painter Edvard Munch), Kon-Tiki Museum, Viking Ship Museum, many of the buildings in Oslo were built in centuries past much like most European cities. It's this quaint and neighborhood feel that helps to enforce the friendly and welcoming atmosphere, not to mention that its people are kind and accomodating and most speak English and are happy to oblige the average unaccomodating American (me).
near the port in Oslo
Norsk Maritimt Museum (Norwegian Maritime Museum)
Fram Museum - The Polar Ship Fram
The Kon-Tiki Museum
Vikingskipshuset (Viking Ship Museum)
Oslo, nestled at the bottom of a mountain which opens into a port, contains a few nods to their national past-time (skiing) including Vinterpark, a ski resort as well as a massive ski jump that is visible from miles away. The accessibility to the mountain for such a large city makes Oslo the ideal location for the World Snowboarding Championships which was populated with competitors from many nations.
The entertainment portion of the WSC festivites were handled by the party guru himself, Andrew WK. The man in white helped to curate the Santos Party House's Oslo Annex (named after his NYC club of the same name), an unused raw space that I was told would eventually become a market. The space was ground zero for a few concerts including an appearance from Dropkick Murphys, Tommy Tee, Turbonegro, Kvelertak and Andrew WK & the WSC house band (a mix of local musicians with Hennig Anderson, CEO of WSC, on guitar).
Santos Party House, Oslo Annex
Andrew WK & the WSC House Band
When I arrived at the first Santos Party House event on 2/11, I was greeted with a sea of sailor hats and denim jackets emblazoned with "Turbojugend". The crowd was ready for a set by cheeky punk rock fancy-boys. Andrew WK and the WSC House Band opened the evening, and they kept it short and to the point. Playing a total of four songs, including two recently recorded WSC anthems ("Go Go Go Go" and "My Time") and "Party Hard", it was surreal to hear the crowd singalong to "I Love New York City" on another continent.
Turbonegro followed, arriving on stage to crowd chants of "I Got Erection". The show, their first Oslo appearance in three years, was their first in Oslo with new vocalist Tony Martin, former head of the London chapter of Turbojugend. Tony's voice is similar to that of Damien of Fucked Up, a scratchy hardcore rasp, and the band played two new tracks as well as favorites like the encore opener "The Age of Pamparius". The crowd chanted along and bounced with excitement. Maybe you caught him when he recently also fronted the band at the NYC version of Santos.
In between the first Oslo Santos show and the second, the WSC held a party at City Hall in Oslo. The party was short and sweet, but featured Andrew WK on piano as well as Norwegian musician Magnet on acoustic/lap steel/looping pedal. Each performed a few songs as well as collaborated on a single song.
A couple days later, I arrived at Santos Annex to catch Dropkick Murphys. The Boston Irish-punk band's stage show hasnt changed much in the decade-plus since I saw them last, but the crowd ate it up and their energy was undeniable.
Press conference during the World Snowboarding Championships
Some of the grounds of Vinterpark, home of the WSC
Oslo City Hall
Mayor of Oslo (left)
Andrew WK speaks before performing on solo piano
Magnet and Andrew WK perform together
Outside of the new Museum of Modern art (under construction)
The ski-jump at Vinterpark
Andrew WK introduces Dropkick Murphys
Flam on the Fjord
cruise on the Fjord
Bergen at night
After catching Dropkick Murphys, I packed my things to head to begin my morning journey toward Bergen, a major city on Norway's West Coast.
The journey from Oslo to Bergen was done by train across some of the most beautiful and forgiving landscape I have ever seen; mountainous terrain, waterfalls, and endless snow covered every inch of our surroundings. Flam, a picturesqe port village that caters to the cruise industry along the fjord, was our destination by rail where we caught a boat and then a bus to Voss.
After a night's sleep, a meal that included a smoked sheep's head (no shit, more details if you dare) and a day skiing in Voss, I packed my things to spend the evening at the beautiful port city of Bergen. In the morning it was back to Oslo where three days of Scandinavian music awaited me at by:Larm... but that's another story.
to be continued...