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Rock på Torget DVD
Bodø, August 14th 2010
 Høst, Ruphus, Aunt Mary

Rock på Torget AS

Last year's Rock På Torget, a one-day mini-festival gathering four important Norwegian 70's rock groups, is now documented on a DVD release. It was a rainy, chilly and windy August night in Bodø, but that didn't stop this from being some very enjoyable hours. A handful of professional cameras were filming the event, so I was probably not the only one eagerly awaiting this DVD, which luckily did surface, eventually. Three of the bands agreed to be a part of this release, but sadly not Junipher Greene. They declined, perhaps because they were planning a separate concert DVD release, although this has not seen the light of day so far. Sad, because Junipher Greene played a great set, and musically they were by far the most well rehearsed act.

So we will have to make do with the three other bands. Or perhaps I should say four, because Høst played two different sets with two different line-ups. Both picture and sound quality is excellent on this DVD release. The sound here is much better than what was going out to the audience that night. The visual quality is flawless, so technically this is a high quality production. Still, the recordings don't seem to have been doctored much, at least some playing errors are left as they were. Not that there were a lot of them. For bands not having played live together for a long time, things like starting off in the wrong key is understandable. Leaving them as they were, makes this feel like a very raw and real document. Which is a good thing.

We get about 25 minutes of each band, doing four or five songs each. Høst being both the opening and closing act with its two different line-ups, also dominates this DVD, and vocalist Geir Jahren's lively stage presence firmly sets his mark on this whole evening. The Mk 1 set is still my favourite, and it's a pure joy to hear the melodic twin lead guitar playing on this selection of their greatest songs. The Mk 2 set was sonically a more messy experience for me that night, not being able to get much out of the guitar playing of Fezza Ellingsen. Here it sounds a lot better, and it's not difficult to appreciate his skillful playing. I still find their songs a little oddball, at least compared to the Mk 1 songs. Those on the other hand, some may find too simple.

Ruphus sounded a little dull to me, and I must confess they still do here. Too much balladery and too little instrumental sparkle. The big exception being "Trapped in a Game", which also is a high point on this DVD. A great song, and a great performance. Which leaves Aunt Mary. I must admit that that night I didn't pay that much attention to vocalist Jan Groth, but rather focused on guitarist Bjørn Kristiansen. Watching the DVD, it's fair to say that Groth did a great performance this night, both as a singer and as an organ player. Seeing how much the band enjoys playing together is a treat, and hearing the guitar playing clearer, Kristiansen impresses again. Understandably he stumbles a little when racing through the quick runs of "In The Hall Of The Mountain King" on this wet and cold evening, but he really shines when improvising in a bluesy direction. Høst was great, particularly Mk 1, but the live footage of Aunt Mary here is almost worth the ticket alone.

The DVD can be bought directly from the RPRK website.

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