Dreaming of Drammen
Kings of Convenience
Union Scene, Drammen (Norway) October 7th, 2010
Forty minutes on a train from Oslo, colours strong from autumn, to a city I've never visited before: Drammen.
Pedestrian bridge over Drammenselva
Walking along the river, Drammenselva, in the amazing landscape of fallen leaves and golden trees after summer's end, takes me to Union scene by the waterside - a centre of culture in Drammen, located in an old paper hall. This is where the city's students gather for a number of different kinds of concerts. I see posters from metal, rock, Neil Young-tributes - almost anything; but mostly small bands not even known within the borders of Norway.
Being the part obsessive concert geek that I am, I decided to scout the premises way beforehand. The paper hall was nicely nostalgic, with lots of brick wall left, with a lot of new frilly frolly architectural stuff surrounding it. The doors were open, so I even got a sneak peak into the concert area, where I could conclude that this was going to be a far smaller concert than my first and latest one last year at Sentrum Scene, Oslo. Back then we were crowded together in quite a large hall, standing our legs sore during the entire concert. This was to be a seated concert, a very intimate one, in fact.
Due to the early arrival, one could decide to paint the town red. I, on the other hand, decided to stroll about the city. Seated in a nice bakery, taking in some coffee in the late afternoon, the heavens strikes upon me, as the establishment decides to make my concert preparations complete by playing the entire Riot on an Empty Street album. At this point, I was already smiling from ear to ear, hardly keeping still, legs tripping and fingers tapping with excitement. Night fell over the sky, and about an hour before door opening, I was seated outside said doors, waiting for my main men, my Kings. My aim was on that front row and centred seat. I was positively drooling after it. The last time, I was squeezed in behind a number of people. And I'm unfortunately shorter than a stack of pies, so those Kings were hard to spot at times.
And what do you know. There, as close as you can get to the stage, there was I, with that endless smile the Kings of Convenience always give me; in my very best dress. This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts.
I'll skip straight to the concert, and fast forward through that girl with the promising strong voice, that sang songs that have been written 117 times before she wrote them. I think I saw a glimpse of both Mr. Øye and Mr. Bøe arriving during her piano performance. Just seeing them gave me goose bumps, and allowed me to screen out the shrieking highs and lows from the stage. Expectations were through the roof at this point.
(I'm partially sorry for bashing the poor girl. The Kings themselves even praised her)
After the warm-up, the crew was preparing the stage for Their Excellencies. It was a magnificently decorated stage. Spread around, there were all these lamps with big lamp shades in different sizes and shapes. Old style lamps you'd usually find at your grandmothers house - really nostalgic; beautiful. They were set up to be dimmed up and down throughout the concert, which strangely gave a very comforting effect, as opposed to your regular dandy light shows.
Finally, after waiting over a month, since the day of the announcement, they're here. They're in front of me; right smack in front of me to see. No big trees in the way. The small hall has gathered some hundred people. You can smell the excitement. Who other than us true fans would have travelled all the way out to Drammen? I imagine I heard a collective sigh of joy as they entered the stage. No. I don't imagine anything, really. I'm spellbound, perhaps star struck, by those two geniuses up there, in between the lamps, holding their guitars, gently strumming some soft chords to one of those magnificent compositions, which will make every hair on your body rise. And then, as if life possibly couldn't get any better, two soft voices, blended in perfection, removes every thought, every worry. I close my eyes; mouth the words to the lyrics I know so well in my heart.
The well educated audience respects the rule of no photography during the first half hour. A mere flash in the first few seconds is the only misstep. Also the sign on the door has served its purpose.
Translation, red words: This is a listening concert. Show concideration!
At some point, the mellow opening blends over in a more dancing-rather-than-talking mood, Tobias and Davide is welcomed to the stage, and us quiet little spectators are invited to riot ourselves towards the stage. I stand up and crowd together with my fellow fans close enough to touch the respectful Mr. Øye and Mr. Bøe, but as a the decent Norwegian girl I am, I do no such thing. I just lean into the lovely music, snap my fingers, and sing aloud with the others.
Standing dangerously close to Mr. Øye, I was constantly at risk - him being quite the mover-about on stage. Many times he stood almost over me, and I could see up to that delightful set of glasses and sing the words along with him.
My kind of rock star
At some point during the concert, the lads start nitpicking with the other about what song to play. The heavenly creatures have no set list, relying on the mood to tell them which masterpiece is to be shared with the collectively smiling audience. They even invite us to shout out the songs we want to hear. In my head I scream Surprise Ice with all my heart; but unfortunately no one names that song. I'm a tad socially reluctant, to say the least. I was almost starting to boost my side partner?s wish for Failure, but some girls are loud enough; and the Kings give us a tear-collecting performance of Toxic Girl.
I was intensely close to the stage, leading of course to most intense cases of blushing and also cheek-ache from widesmiling
Maybe next time for Surprise Eyes. God, I love that immensely perfect song.
All things come to an end. Unfortunately, that is also the case when Kings of Convenience play their concert. There was immense applause when they left the stage the first time; and of course, they were brought back by shouting and light stomping after a little while, leaving our joyous hearts with a rendition of Bob Marley's Waiting in Vain, accompanied by some Øye-trumpet versus Tobias' violin. Also, Mr. Øye composed an impromptu funny little tune about the show being over, and the band being on their way to the next concert.
Oh, my god. This show was really something; starting of incredibly soft, turning into a wildfire of musical joy - bringing out that deep down hidden musically enthusiastic part of me. This withdrawn introverted girl has never been so partaking in anything throughout her entire life. I was singing aloud unafraid, even dancing. I felt as part of some collective appreciation of that breathtaking music and all things pure. I love music. I love Kings of Convenience. They give me reason to live. The happiest moments of my life have been when I've attended Kings of Convenience in concert. They bring out that perfectness in the moment, where you cannot be anything but happy. I kept on smiling throughout that whole evening, and I truly felt on top of the world for the days to come.