The first day of the Øya Festival proper is over and the event has gotten off to a great start. As we, the soothsayers Magog predicted, the sun is back (often enough) from its two-month obscurity, and the city is buzzing nicely with the tremors and trebles from the festival park.
The opening day and night turned out to be one in the sign of rhythm; from the percussive showdown of Kim Hiorthøy and Paal Nilssen-Love, to the prog extravaganza of Shining, the desert trance of Tinariwen, the irresistible Brazilian funk melange of Bondo Do Role and the three- drummer big band that paid homage to the late Robert Burås (of Madrugada and MMC fame.)
The perhaps biggest name on the night’s roster, Amy Winehouse, never showed but that didn’t seem to thwart the mood of the crowd, for it was a day of many unexpected highs and pleasant surprises. So many artists were in a spontaneous mood, and so many concerts by the lesser-knowns proved to be thrills, that people agreed to wish Miss Winehouse luck in rehab instead of sulking.
The other biggest name on the Wednesday roster, Nine Inch Nails, is a band bent on countering all good vibrations. But when the crowd excels under the onslaught of desperation, it just becomes a catalyst of energy, which is of course important to keep up during the long festival.
One, with energy to spare and share is the new Norwegian leash less rock princess Ida Marie, who enjoys saying what she means and does so musically with considerable charm and chutzpah. Synth punk duo Matt and Kim were also energized. They did a gig on the Ikea raft, and took a purposeful fall into the stale pool it was floating on: fun to do, fun to watch.
Sometimes festivals can be tainted by bored artists and auto-pilot performances. Wednesday at Øya was as far away from this as conceivable, most will agree: there was dedication in both the gloom and the joy and not least in the playing itself.