Tag Archives: Bergenfest

Bergenfest 2013: The Fourth Day – A Soulful Saturday

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Naomi Shelton And The Gospel Queens
 She took us to church, she shook us and she held us, we were taken care of, what a fantastic woman, what a great gospel revue! It was funky and it was hot, we really thought Charles Bradley would be the highlight of the day but Naomi stole the show!     Highlights:  Am I asking too much, Reach out and touch, A Change is Gonna Come   -Hallgeir
 Agree with Hallgeir…. Best concert this Saturday. A highly energizing experience & CB guesting for “Am I asking too much” (and a Happy Birthday).  Highlights: Am I asking too much & A Change is Gonna Come    -Egil


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20:30 – Magic Mirrors:

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John Murry
 «This will probably want to make you kill yourselves» John Murry is an angry motherfucker. His passive agression knows few boundaries. This night it was directed at The Ukulele Orchestra of Britain(?), and with good reason. The Ukulele people did it hard for Mr. Murry to get started on time and his set was cut short because of them. It is rude to do what they did on a tight festival schedule. That said…John Murry was great! …and very funny in all his built up and kept in agression.   Highlights: Little Coloured Balloons, The Ballad of The Pyjama Kid and Southern Sky- Hallgeir
 He stressed quite a bit preparing for the concert… (ref the Ukulele band), but did a solid job when he got going. Very naked & dark stuff…   Highlights: Southern Sky & Things We Lost In the Fire  -Egil


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15:15 – Plenen:

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Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires
 This was my fourth Charles Bradley show, and it was nice to see that he has embraced the 70s style soul/funk. Love is still the main theme but now its delivered in a streetwise manner. Great start of the day.    Highlight:   Confusion – Hallgeir


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-Hallgeir & Egil

Bergenfest 2013: The Third Day – Another fine day

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 I don’t know how many times I’ve seen Tønes in concert, but it’s a lot. He never disappoints. He is a singer/songwriter from the western part of Norway, he has released music 17 years but his final break-through came last year here in Norway.This night in the Magic Mirrors tent was fun. His lyrics are often tinted with a dry sense of humour. He has a keen eye for the small stories in everyday life, and some of the stories are more bitter-sweet than humorous. It suits him very well to sing the more serious songs, and I find that I prefer the serious Tønes these days. A little bit of both is fine.He has a great band and they’ve been with him since 87 I think.The best song this evening: Min Venn

– Hallgeir

 Tønes is always a treat. Great artist, funny, always a bit nervous & always charming. Some people come only for good laugh, but these are really good musicians. If you’d be able to remove the vocal.. it would still be wonderful music.    My highlights: Lyset, Bonde & Sån av Salve.-Egil


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Rival Sons
 I should really like Rival Sons, they have a retro-vibe that should fit my taste. But…they seem like a pastiche or a parody, they give me much of the same feelings I get from Lenny Kravitz’ retro tinged soul-rock. It feels like a put-on, a posed “thing”. I saw 30 minutes and people seemed to enjoy the show.- Hallgeir

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Melody’s Echo Chamber
I like Melody’s album but they/she was much better live. I think it started too soft but after a while the “psychedelic droning” kicked in, heaven!I will be following this band and want to see them in concert again if I get the chance. This was a very good show.Highlights: The final jam, Crystalized and Be proud of your kids

– Hallgeir


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Simone Felice
 What an intence man he is Simone Felice! He put on a very fine show in Magic Mirrors last night. I saw him at Bergenfest two years ago when he visited with the band The Duke and The King. He was great then and he was very good this time. He is a charismatic performer who seems to really mean what he sings about. Great concert, best of the day for me.      The highlights: A fantastic cover of Springsteen’s Atlantic City, Do’t wake the scarcrow  and a lovely encore, New York Times- Hallgeir
Never seen Simone Felice before…. sound check was neck-to-neck with the real concert & you felt you got to know the man a bit. He seemed like a very “demanding” man to be round.. seeking attention & recognition.   Anyways.. he has a wonderful voice, a solid presence & has written some fine songs. His version of Neil Young’s Helpless was (as expected) a highlight.. beautiful.. He also gave an intense version of Bruce Springsteen’s Atlantic City .. I think “our Man” would have approved.   Best of his own material: New York Times, Don’t Wake The Scarecrow (Felice Brothers), If You Ever Get Famous (The Duke and The King).-Egil


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-Hallgeir & Egil

Bergenfest 2013: The Second day – a great festival day

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The rainy weather could not spoil this lovely day @ Bergenfest. We got some fantastic concerts & had a helluva time!

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
 What a concert! My first show with Nick Cave, he stumbled through the first songs like an over-eager kid. Then he tightened his grip, he slammed us into the walls, he held us up to God’s jugdment and we felt like beaten sinners after the mass.I got all the songs that I hoped for, the highlights for me were; a ferocious Mercy Seat and a drawn out Stagger Lee that had the most “Motherfucks/-ing” in a song ever. And by the way, he is still the coolest motherfucker on the scene.The best concert at this years Bergenfest (so far).- Hallgeir
  His presence was immediate.. he was in for the kill. Demanding & getting our full attention even though he was a bit rusty the first couple of songs. From Here To Eternity (#3) was intense, Weeping Song (#4) a bit out of focus, false start on Deanne (#6), but with Red Right Hand things got serious. Tupelo (#9) was majestic, & when he sat down at the keyboard and did my current fav People ain’t no good (#10) we were in some kind of a “Hellish Heaven”. The Mercy Seat (#12), one of the absolute best songs  he’s written, could have been better.. but still lovely. Then came Stagger Lee (#13) – best performance yesterday – a real mother fucker version (yes… he shouted “MOTHER FUCKER” at least 20 times during this one). The last three songs were good, but could not touch Stagger Lee… (than again who/what could?)

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Magic Mirrors – 21:15:

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John Grant
 I saw a John Grant solo concert two years ago (well, he had one guy on stage with him on some songs) and it really changed my view on Mr. Grant. I was mesmerised. I thought I was prepared for this years show, but when the man starts to sing everything else disappears. He is one of the finest singer/songwriters today. It was fantastic once again.GMF (the Greatest Motherfucker) is maybe the single best musical moment of this years festival. Marz was another highlight.I hope I get to see him and his very good band in a non-festival setting soon.- Hallgeir
 My first John Grant concert… and WHAOO!     Had done my job and listened to his albums, but this was WAY better than I ever imagined (even though Hallgeir had “warned” me).    The first two songs (Vietnam & Marz) was unbelievably good.. I was blown away.Then came 3 songs that, though still very good, contained too much synths/electronics for my taste.   Sitting down @ the keyboard he gave a quiet and lovely Where Dreams Go To Die (#6) – what a song! It Doesn’t Matter To Him (#7) was also brilliant.The last songs were solid, but not in the same league as the mentioned top 4.   A wonderful concert with exceptionally good sound. And listening to his albums today (after the concert) .. feels different in very positive way.-Egil


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Plenen – 17:15:

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Steve Earle & The Mastersons
Steve Earle is a hero for us at JV, in many ways he embodies all the musical styles that we write about. I have seen him before, but this was my first concert with him when he has a band with him. I had a big expectations and they were fullfilled, he told short stories and entertaining anectdotes between the tunes. It was a good concert.Highlights: Copperhead Road and The Low Highway- Hallgeir
 A real hero indeed. This was my 5th Steve Earle concert (2 solo & 3 with band), and my expectations were sky high… a bad thing.    First – 17:15, the largest stage, and poring rain.. bad, bad, bad. BUT as soon as Steve Earle’s somewhat reduced voice hit us.. things felt alright…  and one of my fav Steve Earle songs is.. I Feel Alright (Steve Earle’s top 20 according to Egil).     The band were very good & surely inspired Steve to push his performance (even though struggling with his voice).     Best songs were a beautiful This City, a hard rocking & rock solid The Revolution Starts.. (last song)a good Hard-core Troubadour The Galway Girl.
You’re Still Standing There
also needs a nod.    -Egil


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Plenen – 20:00:

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Band Of Horses
This was my fourth Band of Horses concert and as a band this is the best I’ve heard them since 2008, but even if they were good last night, it seemed like another day on the job. They’re a tight band and it’s too bad that it felt a bit uninspired. “Just another day on the job”. Not bad, but not great either.Highlights: Is there a ghost and The Great Salt lake- Hallgeir
 Seen them twice before.. the band is tighter, but it has been a while since Bridwell has written a real good song. I’m still listening to the first 2 albums.. if I want some Band Of Horses. The “hard-core” rain didn’t hep either… solid stuff, but no cigar.


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-Egil & Hallgeir

Bergenfest 2013: The first day – a nice warm-up


It was good to be back in Bergen for another Bergenfest. The Festival area is upgraded and it looks nice and the enhanced  Magic Mirrors  is especially welcome. This Wednesday was just a warm-up with only two acts on the bill. The headliner was former Dire Straits man, Mark Knopfler. He is a solid performer, but maybe not so inspired these days… The be brutally honest [Egil] found the gig a bit boring… solid but boring nevertheless.

Our award for best concert on the first day goes to the Oregon band, Larry and his Flask. Its not an easy task to start a festival as the early act, and almost as a “support act” to Mark Knopfler. We have to be honest, almost everyone out this night came to see the famous guitar picker & thus Magic Mirrors was not packed.

Larry and his Flask gave it all and they won the audience over (after a bit of a uncertainty in the beginning). They would have benefittet with a more varied set and the two highlights for us was a good (and interesting) cover version of Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On and the one that came right after it, Slow it Down (…at least we believe that was the title). Lot’s of energy – Ian Cook (lead vocal & guitar) was literally on his toes the whole set..

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Mark Knopfler, Bergen 2013:


-Hallgeir & Egil

Charles Bradley in Norway 2012

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Charles Bradley made a huge impression on us in 2012. We saw him in concert three times, all tremendous shows. We also got to meet him in person two times. We had a little chat with him and we got a hug after his concert at  Oyafestival in Oslo (Paste Magazine rated it among the 10 best festival moments in 2012). The best thing however was when we met Mr. Charles Bradley at Bergenfest.

Charles Bradley at Bergenfest 2012 part1
Charles Bradley at Bergenfest 2012 part2
Charles Bradley at Bergenfest 2012 part3
Charles Bradley at Oyafestival 2012

Also check out Bergenfest and Oyafestival online.

The Press guys at Bergenfest called us just an hour before the meet, and said that we could get an interview with Charles Bradley if we were interested. We were thrilled!

We (JV) met in a hotel lobby close to the Bergenfest area, Charles Bradley (CB)  had just arrived in Bergen, he was a bit tired, but very friendly and open.

We are not experienced journalists, we are fans and the talk we had, kind of reflects that, Charles Bradley talked most of the time and we listened to this fantastic soul singer telling his story.

JV: It’s an honor to meet you Mr. Bradley.

Charles Bradley smiles, shakes our hand and appologises for beeing late.

 CB: Sorry to keep you guys waiting, we just arrived two hours ago and needed some time to freshen up. We had to jump in a car and drive real fast to get here to you. Just had to get myself a bit together before I met you.

We introduced ourselves and explained that we write for Johannasvisions.

JV: We started The Johanna’s Visions web site 6 months ago, we love music, especially American roots music, soul, jazz, folk, blues and rock’n roll. We’ve had a deep passion for this music most of our life. We are getting quite a lot of visits on the web site.

(At the time we had about 50 000 page views a week, now we have well over 200 000 a week.)

CB: You just gotta do it!JV: Yes!


CB: Well I can tell you some stories that I don’t think you’ve heard before.
I can say, I’m 63 years old, I’ve been back as far as the segregation days when you couldn’t say what was on your mind. You had to run to a baptist church just to let it all out, and it was all soulful hurt and pain put in to music.

JV: You have been on tour for some time now and you said you could tell us some stories…

CB: Yes

JV: …do you see any differences from Europe and USA?

CB: Europe, oh yes! In Europe I have been treated more fairly, more honestly, people show me more love. Now that I’ve been coming over to European countries and playing shows I get a lot of respect. It is hard to see that, you have to get out of you country and then come back to get some kind of respect.

JV: It is a terrible thing, but it is nice that you are treated so well over here.

CB: Yes, but I gotta say, oh my God, your country keeps me in tears of joy, not of hurt, of joy, the love that I’ve received from people, and I say this from the depth of my heart.

JV: This is the same story the Stax artists told in the 60s, but it is a long time ago, surely it must be different now?

CB: I will say, America is more hush, hush, the roles that they play, you can see it and you know they do it, now it’s more quiet but they still do it.

…and just because we have a black president, who says he’s gonna change things? It is just a front, that’s my opinion. You can feel when somebody hug you,the sincerness in their heart, you can feel when somebody hug you, if it’s false.

JV…the same with the smiles, when people smile at you.

CB: Yeah. That’s what it’s about, man. It is that, do you understand what I’m saying.

JV:  Yes.

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JV: You are going to play two concerts here in Bergen, we’re seeing both. Plus, we are going to see you in Oslo in August, how do you compare the large stage festival shows to the smaller venues in clubs?

CB: You know, it’s like, me, the audience, compassion, we all hug, cry together, the love is infinite. Oh man, i think I’m on a mission, I think I’m out to do something good, because with all the trials and tribulations I’ve been through…

…and now when I meet all the people that open their hearts to me, it talks to me. A man, last night, he said,”Charles, man, I’m 52 years old, and you just made my day” (laughter), “you made me realize that there is still hope for me!” Isn’t that incredible? I just broke down and cried!

I say, My God! That is what makes me want to keep my heart and be clean, the way I just can tell them. Show them.

Like, this one kid, this was over in Canada. He came over to us and he told me about himself, and he said, “I wanna talk to Charles Bradley”.

So they said to him, “We’re gonna talk to Charles Bradley to see if he can talk to you”. They told me about this 18 year old kid and I said yes, get him on stage, he was standing right by the stage.

He said, “Charles Bradley, please talk to me”. I said, “Young man, what am I gonna say to you?” He said, ” I just lost my Ma”. I said, “How old was your Ma?”, she was 51, I said,”Oh my God!”

What am I gonna say to this kid? God, give me something to say to him. And then I remembered back to when I was a kid, when this… this baby only about six months. It was in a crib and he died. I remembered that someone told me that when a baby dies young, they only came into our world to give something great to us, and then the child would leave. God said your work is done. So I said, ” Son, your mother was 51 years old, she brought a beautiful boy into this world, and she put all the love that she knew inside that boy”, “and that was you!” “What she gave you, you take it out into this world”.

JV: We can understand why he came to you, because your own story is so inspirational

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