The Øya Festival rolls on

Another of Øya’s big attractions has cancelled: Lilly Allen joins Amy Winehouse on sick leave. But yesterday was the most beautiful day in Oslo this summer and one can perhaps venture to say that the festival goers aren’t really susceptible to huge disappointments over the news.

Øyafestivalen by night, 2003 (Foto: Kat Borgen)

Thursday was the day for incongruous acts at this year’s Øya, from the outlandish Romani / New York blitz of Gogol Bordello to the seminal quirky beauty of CocoRosie.
The latter donning hard hats from a construction site, the former donning a panoply of garments reminiscent of the asylum for those who didn’t, malheureusement, wear hard-hats at the construction site they worked.

Gogol Bordello is powerful stuff. Why? -because it has a lot of horsepower, says lead loony Eugene Hütz, and because they really, really, really hate boybands. A sentiment most probably shared by the majority, certainly by The Eagles of Death Metal, whose singer promised to swing his cock enough to make up for his lack of voice. (Probably the same throat infection as Lily Allen.) Tool is not a boyband either. First: not so young, second: hard and merciless and professional. More like war veterans than elfin neophytes.

Apropos construction; international media have started posting their comments on the festival and they're all very impressed with the line up and the facilities and the environmental friendly profile of the whole event (many have also had a good time partying through the night, thinking that Norwegian girls always behave they way they do towards visiting cool cats). But all is not well: Oslo is under construction concludes Pitchforkmedia’s man revealing in-depth knowledge and research: “despite being nearly a century old (misprint perhaps, did he want to say millennium?) Oslo in some ways looks unfinished.” Unlike, presumably, “the city in the mountains”, which is how he describes Norway’s west coast capital Bergen, homestead of so many of our finest musical artists.

From another capital, Paris, that resurrected locus of electronic music, came Justice -arguably the most zeitgeisty name on the evenings roster- and delivered a show of industrial house. Perfect timing and detail transfixed the audience like deer in the headlights, even though it wasn’t dark yet.
The French connection was elaborated later in the evening when the transcendentally cool Paris label Ed Banger invitet to a special party at Oslo’s queen of clubs Stratos. It was part of the "Øya Night" post park program.

But before that several Norwegian acts had also had a good go at it, most prominently Sivert Høyem and the Volunteers, that fountain of truthful and majestic folk rock. Others were The Moving Oos, (splendid 70s soul rock), The Real Ones (they can really play) and of course lots more.

Tonight the big names are Rocky Erickson and the Explosives, Devendra Banhart, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Architecture in Helsinki, to mention a few. Lily Allen is replaced by Jens Lekman. It looks like rain, though, so do bring brolly.

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