It was a beautiful drive to Oslo. Had we been back in Northern Italy, the flushes of summer would’ve been starting to come through, here, though it wasn’t particularly cold, snow still covered the ground in lots of places. We went for a walk and popped into a music shop to further remedy Marissa’s pedal situation, picking up a new fuzz. Oslo is an incredibly expensive city, at one point we passed a Mexican restaurant which the band all recognised as the place where they’d accidentally spent $100 on some decidely average burritos nine years prior. They still looked bitter about it, and fair enough. We found a decent burger place recommended by my mate Daniel AKA Skunk who runs the amazing label Byllepest Distro putting out amazing punk from around the world, Istanbul to Bogota, and organises a very cool mini-fest every summer.
Playing with a bouncy rubber ball, waiting for someone to turn up, trying to skip it across some bar tables outside the venue. Inevitably, as has happened every time in my life from childhood onwards that I’ve had a bouncy rubber ball, it bounced away under a fence and me and Marissa formed an impromptu cat-burgling team to climb over a gate and get it. To be honest, it’s very satisfying breaking into somewhere you know you’re not supposed to be, even if you’re just retrieving a lost item. If the music stuff doesn’t work out, we’re planning on going full time with it. Don’t grass!
Once inside it was another venue that they realised they were familiar with, the sound person had had been in the band that supported them the first they’d played Oslo and Mike recalled that this was the place where he’d spent his twenty-third birthday. The support band played what at first seemed to be catchy street-punk, with a few very nineties ska breaks thrown in. Just when we thought we’d got a handle on their sound, they threw in a couple of startling super-fast blastbeat sections into the mix, which we were absolutely not expecting. Fair play to them for finding a musical combination that none of us, with all of our collective music listening experiences between us, had ever encountered before.
Norway has the same cashless attitude as Sweden, but we still sold a fair few records. We were running low. The merch, which a couple weeks ago had been a wall of boxes in the van, was now dwindling. We were out of a bunch of albums and we had a load of empty boxes, most of which we gave to Daniel for his distro, as even the cardboard mailers are pricey there.
The amount of beer we had in the fridge at the band room probably came close to equaling in value the money we’d make from the show. When we told the other band we were only taking a few six packs, and that they could have the rest, their faces shone with gratitude, the long-haired extremely metal-looking bassist who had been telling me about his time as a touring guitarist for a black metal band (you are never more than ten feet away from a black metal musician in Norway) asking “Are you sure?” with the air of gleeful child told he’s been allowed to stay up late.
The new pedal and a couple days familiarity with the rest of them and I could tell that Marissa was getting her groove back. It was a ripping set.