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November 2002, Oslo. Kat Bjelland, Mùm, X-Lover, The Microphones, ....

The month started with a So What! delight, and it was for free, so I still don't understand why it was not more crowded... Of course, that's not the only great concert that was not packed when it should have been....not to mention those who're just being very loud at the bar wherever they go, not listening to any note that is coming from the stage. Maybe it's time to take curiosity beyond what we are told to check out by M(-oron)TV. OK, I'm done, music maestra!

The Microphones@ so What! Nov 1st, free concert This is how we opened a month of live music. One of these north western romantic evergreen kids whom we have always dreamt of having as little brother. History of his fanzine sensitive music, Modest Mouse / Built to Spill type stories that leave your heart over spilling with tears. The same you usually let rol on your own in your room in yourself. Incredible how it works with this simple guy on stage. Just by being himself. A strip tease performance without the teasing loud bastards who probably didn't even notice someone was on stage.... they don't know who he is, so why should they care? but yeah, I remember now it's Friday, the first day of the week end, when 90% of the population feel like they should behave like total assholes....and that consumption is the key to happiness.

Calamity Val

Heroine + Beyond pink @ NYX, nov 7th 2002 Opening act: 4 riot grrls, Swedish style. Loud and genuine, spontaneous and refreshing. Some pure riot grrl amateur action like we hadn't seen in a while, and did that feel good. Heroine was a performance. One bass guitar, one electro-acoustic guitar. 2 men, one woman who appears to be the perfect result you could get if you dreamt of creating a lydialunchnickcave. Words grab you there and take you to this cold raw world you love so much. The very dark side of you, where you heart lies naked. Words are important, all she's saying is true. Beware, nobody gets out of it untouched…Calamity Val

Kat Bjelland. @ So What! Nov 12th.... or the selling out of our dreams. Kill our idols, they had warned us, bumping into our disbelief or our blind, comfortable faith (3 different words for the same lie...). I should have remembered this as I walked into So What! on the 12th of November to see Katastrophy Wife. Kat Bjelland had been the front singer guitarist of Babes in Toyland, band which had quite a big part in the punkgrunge explosion of the beginning of the nineties.... and on all the grrrls' liberating imagery. I had seen her once before as KW and already wasn't too impressed. She had played at Ladyfest Glasgow in 2001 and was shockingly defensive on the girls in music subject. Her speech had the tones of the patriarchal discrediting of an hysterical and useless feminism. I mean, where is sexism in our civilized and evolved society, I am asking you, gender liberated brothers and sisters? I gave it another try because it was quite pleasing and refreshing to hear this Babes in Toyland sound again. Besides Kat is a true she-rock performer on stage, a tiny energy bomb on a Rickenbacker, screaming with revulsed eyes half swallowing the microphone. A good concert facing an almost motionless crowd. Very few people, either they were trusting their instinct, didn't know about the band or just forgot to show up....I mean, it was the first day of snow after all...The magic worked on stage, although there was nothing special about it. It was, I thought even a bit too predictable, but I might be growing old.... Things got worse when we met her backstage for an interview.... Yes, I was disappointed. She wants to live of her music, which is totally fair, but what she's ready to give away is less decent... A band that doesn't exist anymore and a riot grrl movement that praised her inspirational talent, but to which BiT never really belonged. Worst, miss Kat politely avoids difficult women issue such as separatism, women festivals, feminism, and above all queerism. She still has the same energy on stage but plays an all too Babes in Toyland sound to be sincere. I hope she's still Laughing Her Head Off, though... Calamity Val

Múm.@John Dee. Sunday Nov 17th

The band starts from silence and builds it up into sounds. The beat starts and there was life. Six people on stage, slowly moving around, using this and that instrument to add texture to a jewel-like sound. The music is so intimist you could be watching the band rehearse, smiling or crying to them, letting your feelings run loose.

Calamity Val

Radio 4 / The Faint, SoWhat Mon Nov 25th

This goes out to all the people who missed out---missed out big time! Two bands in one night, both with their own distinct, new sound. A sound that somehow reminds you of all the stuff you loved from the 80's; Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, The Clash & Gang Of Four are all names that spring to mind. Couple these influences with the good part of all the crappy synthesizer bands around at the time & you get close to what these two bands are all about. Radio 4, the more "punkier" of the two open the show and have some trouble getting the small crowd going until they play their single "Dance To The Underground" which has been supported by P3 for a month or two now. Not from lack of enthusiasm though... The Faint come on with a touch more of early Depeche Mode and The Cure feel (&look) to their set and are what finally gets the small Monday-night crowd dancing & shouting for more. So, be warned: Check out their latest albums and wise up next time they come to town...

Radio 4: Gotham The Faint: Danse Macabre 

Ann Liz

X-Lover.@ So What! Wednesday Nov 27th

Who cares about the New York scene when you have such a band in your neighbourhood? Everything in this band is what we've been dreaming of: the music, the lyrics, the stage presence, the DIY outfits, the guitars that split into two pieces :) Ladies and gentlemen, here comes real punk!

Calamity Val


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