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flag Norway - Full Moon 43 - 04/18/00

So What!, Oslo, 23.03.2000

Monopot released their debut album last year, and most reviewers hailed the trio's excellent record of slow-floating musical content, and it "won" them even a nomination for the Norwegian Grammy - Spelemannsprisen. Not that I think the three lads from Bergen expected to win some award. They probably couldn't care less, because what they're up to is so totally far "off-off-Broadway" compared to the rest of the business. Nevertheless, the nomination was so deserved for the album of the year in Norway: Something is Like Nothing Was.

I was quite excited to see what they were up to do to from a stage, because, having a certain "live feel" on the album, their music is quite introvert. They almost sneaked on stage, a short "Good evening", and then the focus was set on their songs. Leaving the Incubator started their one-hour set, which presented many of the songs from their record, plus some new stuff. Once came up next, a brilliant stand-still-while-moving song, and one of my personal highlights on the album. A whispering and sensitive composition, dead serious and extremely beautiful. Then followed an instrumental song new to my ears (correct me if I'm wrong), and I noticed the space and the setting on the rather small So What! stage. Three people. Guitar, bass guitar, and (me being a drummer): a 60's, glittering-red Gretsch drum-kit: bass drum, snare drum, plus an extra snare, a ride cymbal, and a hi-hat. That's all! Neat. They're so balanced and precise in their performance, avoiding abundance and fake. Real thing, that's it. So What! is usually packed, but not this night. Too bad, but what's pleasing is that the sound level and quality are remarkably good for being the So What! cellar. As usual some loud-talkers are present (I've heard it worse), which makes the singer/guitarist make a quiet "shut up!" outburst. Actually it sort of helps, and Monopot continue their flight.

They play the great Jasnaja Poljana , another of the aces from Something is..., as well as Sundried, Chemical Intercourse (or was I only dreaming?), and Sane. The audience seems to enjoy it, standing listening while slowly swinging back and forth. Then it's over. No, not quite: yes, an encore there is, Alien Me Alien, which I was hoping for. Too bad, but the evening was swell as it was. "Niche music", admired by the ones who understand.

Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Monopot articles/reviews: Optipess, Something is Like Nothing was, Taran EP.

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