Wednesday July 21: Malmo Sweden to Oslo Norway

We headed further into Viking country today for a show in Oslo Norway. We had to do another currency conversion since the Swedes and the Norwegians use different Krona(Krones?). This was our fourth currency conversion this week, leading us to believe that European drug dealers must have to carry conversion charts since a dime bag may be an 8.75 Kr. Bag in some other country or a 9.5 Euro bag when in the rest of the EU. The reason for the switch is that Norway is pretty rich in oil, so it’s the economic powerhouse of the region and doesn’t want its regional affluence devalued. Unlike the US where we privatize the profits and make the risks of extraction public, their oil wealth is entirely state-controlled and the money flows in the form of public infrastructure and social programs. Sweden has a similar idea about currency, but largely exports music (Millencollin, Beyond Pink, Victims, Wolfbrigade, HIM, etc) and cars (Volvo, Saab) instead of oil.

Andreas, the promoter set us up with a show at a large squat in central Oslo. It was really nice and resembled an above average apartment building/community center from the States. We were blessed with great bands to play with, Common Cause, Evolve, and Bitter Taste. Common Cause needs no introduction; they are ex-members of Damage Control (Livewire Records) and have been a part of the Oslo scene for a very long time. They have a new record coming out on React! In September, so be sure to check it out. Evolve are four guys from Oslo who are between 16 and 21 years old, playing fast straight edge hardcore. They sound like a mix of Four Walls Falling and American west coast hardcore. They’re easily one of the best bands we’ve seen on tour, regardless of age and country of origin. Bitter Taste was playing their first show and played with a high-energy style.

It seemed like the whole vegan and straight edge scene came out and showed love to all of the bands. We even met Trish, a Portlander (Oregon, USA) studying at the U. of Oslo who was repping hard for the local vegan groups. Delicious baked goods were had by all courtesy of the Ink not Mink faction. We had some technical difficulties, including a big-ass cut on my hand that sprayed blood all over the place, but managed to get through the set with help from athletic tape and our Norwegian friends who helped sing SSD’s Glue and Agnostic Front’s Last Warning and some of our older songs. Torgeir (spelling?!) and the guys from Evolve gave us some love in the pit, even after playing their own sets, and Andreas got the local kids moving as well. It was a fun night and really solidified the Oslo scene in our minds. Scandinavia should be proud of what they’ve cultivated in straight edge and hardcore culture.

After the show, we stayed with Marius, a handsome lad (sorry Chuck) whose father was on the Norwegian Olympic team for cross-country skiing. He’s a solid drummer and really great guy. Our conversation turned from cross-country skiing to snowboarding, and I was reminded that Norway produces not only crude oil and great hardcore, but also some of the world’s best professional snowboarders, like Terje Haakonsen, Daniel Franck, and many, many others. After a walk to the local store for late-night snacks, a pair of inebriated women accosted us. They demanded we tell them our astrological signs and the only thing that could break them away from us was the trolley that almost ran us all over. She had a thing for Ingo, our roadie, saying that it was her birthday. Ingo chilled out and we made a clean break back to Marius’ place.

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