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By:Larm 2008: Pining For the Fjords part 3

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Disappointments
Super Family

Super Family


All That and a Bag of Chips
Not only is that one woeful band name, but the last thing the world needs is yet another Interpol clone. If I hadn’t have been staking a spot for Lukestar’s hugely anticipated set, I would have left. [MySpace]


Charlotte & the Co-Stars
Not that Charlotte Jacobsen’s music is bad or anything, but compared to the more clever arrangements of Anna Järvinen and Dylan Mondegreen’s lush melodies, this just came off as pedestrian in comparison. [MySpace]


WTF?!: Super Family
Just try to imagine this: a manic bespectacled lead singer who looks and acts like a cross between Gord Downie and Jarvis Cocker leading a septet, including two preening male dancers, that simultaneously rips off both Arcade Fire and the Killers to the point where newbies (i.e. us bewildered North American writers) are wondering just how much of it all is a gigantic piss-take. Granted, this is a part of the world that embraces kitsch rock, from hair metalers Wig Wam, to the costumed Lordi, to the demented genius of Turbonegro, but this spectacle was so over the top in its post-punk shtick and overt gayness that to see men who would otherwise come off as your average Linkin Park fan go wild for this stuff was simply logic-defying. In a way, you have to admire how well Super Family sells it all, but after three songs, it really started to wear too thin for comfort. Still, the big crowd ate it all up, and left the venue beaming. A group of us tired, jaded writers bemusedly watched as the happy kids exited the venue, off to raise hell in this lovely city that never seems to go to bed. [player]


“Would this go over in the States?”


“Not a chance.”


But to Super Family and their obviously strong cadre of followers, they couldn’t care less. It’s goofy, but it’s theirs, a perfect encapsulation of the likeable insularity of this part of the world, and to hell with the rest of the world if they don’t get it.


Bands we were sorry to have missed out on
diskJokke

diskJokke


Animal Alpha
The promising Norwegian rockers, and former by:Larm endowment winners, are set to get a big promotional push in the UK this year. [MySpace]


diskJokke
One of Norway’s leading electronica artists, Joachin Dyrdahl’s dub-infused tracks conjure images of locales further south. [MySpace]


Familjen
Swede Johan T Karlsson has already won over many with the excellent Det Snurrar I Min Skalle, and was one of the most buzzed-about artists of the fest. Too bad I arrived a day after his only performance… [MySpace]


FM Belfast
“Lotus”, the Icelandic electronica outfit’s saucy cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Killing in the Name Of”, is inspired. [MySpace]


Truls & the Trees
Led by Lukestar’s falsetto-voiced Truls Heggero, this indie folk collective was one of by:Larm’s biggest surprises in the eyes of many. [MySpace]


With time to kill in the mornings, let alone an extra full day to decompress after the madness of by:Larm, your humble narrator had plenty of opportunities to explore Norway’s capital. Below are ten non-by:Larm related memories I take with me back to chilly Canada:


1. Pølse
Who knew the Norwegians could perfect the hot dog the way they have?


2. Vikingskipshuset
Astonishing museum housing still-intact Viking ships from the Ninth Century. Epic!


3. Neseblod Records
A black metal mecca hidden away in trendy Grunerløkka.


4. “Hi hi.”
Seriously, the way Norwegian girls greet you is adorable.


5. Cross-country skiers crowding the Frognerseteren T-Bane on a Sunday afternoon
It’s true. Everyone here skis. No wonder they’re all so fit and good-looking.


6. Accessibility
From the express train to and from the airport, to the bevy of bus, tram, and T-Bane lines, not to mention pedestrian-friendly Central Oslo, it’s incredibly easy for the most befuddled visitor to get around.


7. The food prices
Everything’s pricey in Scandinavia, but nothing quite compares to the food here, which is at least four times what it costs in North America. The key is to repeat the mantra, Just don’t think about it…


8. Akershus Slott
‘Cos castles are awesome, plain and simple.


9. The steps leading up to the Holmenkollen ski jump
Climbing the endless, horrifically steep, wet, slippery steel grate steps, one’s only thought is, Okay, so I’m going to die inside a ski jump in Norway. Didn’t see that coming.


10. The top of the Holmenkollen ski jump
Once you reach the top and realize, by the grace of Odin’s beard, that you’re still alive, the spectacular 360 degree view of the city and fjord is more than worth the effort. What a wonderful little city.


Adrien Begrand has been writing for PopMatters since 2002, and has been writing his monthly metal column Blood & Thunder since 2005. His writing has also appeared in Metal Edge, Sick Sounds, Metallian, graphic novelist Joel Orff's Strum and Drang: Great Moments in Rock 'n' Roll, Knoxville Voice, The Kerouac Quarterly, JackMagazine.com, StylusMagazine.com, and StaticMultimedia.com. A contributing writer for Decibel, Terrorizer, and Dominion magazines and senior writer for Hellbound, he resides, blogs, and does the Twitter thing in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada.


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