Fortunately the days are long gone when music and Norwegian in the same sentence meant nil points or burning churches. And Audrey Horne leave that memory even further in the past.
The boys from Bergen took The Underworld by storm on their first UK tour as headliners. Whilst not full, the turnout was encouraging enough on a Thursday night and those that stayed at home will just have to learn to live with missing it.
With vocalist Toschie patrolling the stage with all the swagger of a marauding Viking, the band launched into 'Redemption Blues' and it took all of thirty seconds to know they meant business. 'Bridges And Anchors', from the 2010 release 'Audrey Horne', had more impact than Thor swinging his hammer and included Toschie doing his customary singing through a megaphone.
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The twin guitar attack of Arve Isdal and Thomas Tofthagen is reminiscent of the great Lizzy in their prime, with both taking lead duties. The rhythm section of Bassist Espen Lien and drummer Kjetil Greve is tighter than meatloaf in spandex. They are a good band, a damn good band.
Naturally enough the bulk of the set was lifted from their new album, 'Youngblood'. Aside from redemption blues, the title track, 'Show And Tell', 'There Goes A Lady', 'Cards With The Devil' and 'Pretty Little Sunshine' were all given the live treatment.
Even the inconvenience of bass and guitar amp going south temporarily didn't dampen the evening – it just gave Toschie the chance to practice his stand up routine. All I will say is it involved a mercedes, fur coat, slippers and a dildo (I will leave it up to you to put all the pieces together) plus a commendable scottish accent. An impromptu drum solo from Kjetil, comedic comment from Espen asking "if there were any adults in the audience who could fix this stuff" and the band were off again, amps restored to their former glory.
As if to prove the point, Espen launched into the glorious bass intro to 'Threshold' (from their 2007 outing 'Le Fol') and Toschie spent most of the song in with the audience. This band is all about equality though so during the next song, the rousing 'Blaze Of Ashes', Arve, Thomas and Espen did their bit for crowd control and rocked away with the audience. If Kjetil could have dragged his drums off stage he would have been in there with them.
As Toschie pointed out, whilst comparing touring with a few of the... errrmmm... well documented Viking pastimes, all good things come to an end. Cue 'This Ends Here' from 'Youngblood', a piece of rock that couldn't be any more classic. Except... it didn't end here and the band had time for one last rendition, 'Straight Into Your Grave'.
Along with everyone else, I left happy, fulfilled and optimistic about the state of Rock. Norwegians generally have fun and Audrey Horne took it to a whole new level. They have been a hidden gem for too long but given the sheer musical brilliance of 'Youngblood' and the live shows, you get the feeling that is about to change. Finally everyone has sat up and taken notice.
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