Past lives pt 4: Kvelertak @ Bukta 2013

Yes, I attended the Bukta Tromsø Open Air festival in July, one day as a guest and two days as a busy worker bee. I was lucky to get Friday 19 July as my day off - lucky because that was the day when Kvelertak, The Hives, and Witchcraft were playing. Initially I was interested in Bukta merely because of Kvelertak and The Hives, but on that Friday, after stumbling to the MOST HORRIFIC CONCERT I'VE EVER ENDURED (the band was a folk pop band called The BonBons - I apologize for the girls and guys on that band but I nearly puked at your overpowering romantic cuteness), I ran for my life and soon found myself in the crowd at Witchcraft's concert. So in a way, thank you, The BonBons.

Something about Bukta in general: It is a 3-day festival organized every year in July at Telegrafbukta in Tromsø, which is the most popular beach/park area on the island of Tromsøya. (Bukta translates into bay btw.) It's not as wild as rock festivals tend to be, reasons being the unpredictable weather of Northern Norway (high chances of coldness and rain), the absence of a camping area, and the age limit of 18. So there's not too many naked people drowning in the sea or intoxicated youth barfing on each other. To me it seemed that the main crowd was rather old, middle-ageish, and there were a lot of older/classic rock bands for a crowd like that. But in general the selection of bands at Bukta was very wide, from that BLERGH girly folk shit to heavy-as-fuck Kvelertak and for instance The Shining (the Norwegian one), who played on Saturday (while I had to work, fuck).

So yes, Friday off. I entered the area a few hours before the Kvelertak show and killed time by buying a super expensive beer and switching between stages looking at bands. None of them really spoke to me - but I must note that the last few songs of Nikkeby Lufthavn I saw were a lot better from the last time I saw the band in May... when they were "too drunk to play", so to speak. Eh.

Aanyway. Kvelertak. I've had wet dreams about seeing Kvelertak live since I first laid my ears on them. I think they are a prime example of modern Norwegian metal, still traditionally beardy and hairy, but also some hardcore sleekness in there. (Wow. I'm using hair metaphors.)
I was beyond excited to know I'm ACTUALLY going to see this band live. I went to get my spot in front of the main stage well in time before the show and didn't pay too much attention to the huge crowd gathering up behind me. (I would soon start to feel it.) But yes, I was almost directly in front of Erlend's (the singer) mic stand. I fastened my seat belt. (Figuratively speaking.)

The show started with Åpenbaring, which is the opening song of the new album Meir, and Erlend entered the stage WEARING THE FUCKING OWL that we also saw in the Bruane Brenn video. From that moment on I was in Kvelertak heaven. Everything sort of came to life, times ten. I'm not sure how long they played, an hour maybe? With only two albums released, the set was quite easily filled. Hits from the new album included for example Bruane Brenn, Evig Vandrar, Månelyst, and Nekrokosmos, but the fastest tracks (Snilepisk and Trepan) were left out. Of course they played all the expected hits from the first album, like Ulvetid, Blodtørst, Mjød, Sjøhyenar and Fossegrim.

I didn't know what to expect in terms of the band's live performance quality, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this band is super tight live. I love their professional sound and talent, combined to the boyish charm that the guys have. I was happy to discover how great the new songs sound live, even though I have complained about the BLACK 'n' roll missing from the new album. But Kvelertak just cannot fail. For example, Evig Vandrar is a song in a style you'd never have expected, based on the first album, but now it has become one of my faves from Meir and it was truly awesome live. Good song to sing along to - even foreigners can recognize the line "EVIG VANDRAR". Talking about sing-along-qualities... My main complaint about Kvelertak has been the lack of lyrics on the album booklets, or internet for that matter, and at the concert this was one thing that slightly annoyed me.. The Norwegian people around me seemed to know the lyrics to most songs, while I barely knew some lines here and there. This was particularly annoying at times when Erlend encouraged the crowd to sing and I was there in front of him, just smiling. Ugh. So PUBLISH THE GODDAMN LYRICS!! >:(

Visual happiness reached me through watching confident modern vikings torturing their instruments with great pleasure. Sorry for objectifying the male body here, but for example watching a shirtless, long-haired Erlend putting his soul into performing, was such eye candy for me. He was very active and physical on the stage, and dove into the crowd once, with his mic and all. I like to think he dove a few meters away from me to not crush a weak little girl like myself.. What a gentleman.. (OR, I just got lucky.)

But speaking of physicality during a concert. This was my first time in the front row at a big concert and in a way it was good - I had the perfect spot in terms of seeing and hearing everything, but the waves of people (mainly male) pogoing and moshing behind me almost crushed me a few times. I'm just glad I didn't break any ribs, but believe me, it wasn't too far. Had to catch my breath a few times. This is obviously something that's an essential part of a metal show and weak girls should stay away from it if they're afraid, but what if you also want to have a good spot in the audience to see everything. I'd say front row was better in this sense than the second or third - at least I wasn't sucked into a mosh pit. So I was a bit mauled, but the bruises were totally worth it. And I got some pretty cool photos! (All the ones in this post are from my camera.) I tried to film as well, and compiled a video of all the best clips (including the one with Erlend stagediving). Not professional quality but valuable memories for me at least!

Kvelertak live at Bukta was a 9/10 experience for me. Hope to see them soon again.


  1. Ho, con on, The Bonbons are real good! You close minded Metalhead, go twerk on some humpa...

    But well, I still have to say you´re right when you say "overpowering romantic cuteness". That was a couple of neat words.

    Besides, nice post, makes me sad again that I had to work this day...

    Also, I like your comments about being crushed by the crowd... That´s exactly why being a tall male person is useful for. Generally, in such concerts, I try to find a tiny girl with a decent booty and I stay behind her. When the crowd start crushing, she gets all the pain and my precious parts are protected by said booty... Except if there´s a pit of course, haha !

  2. Again, be happy that I wasn´t there !