Photo By John Anderson
WEBeerland, Friday, March 14
Maybe it's the lack of vitamin D or the shades of gray-induced angst, but places that don't get a lot of sunlight often produce heavy and loud bands. Other locales do, too, but there's something about darker climes and heavy-duty rock & roll: Seattle and grunge, "Detroit Rock City," the Scorpions of Germany, et al. So a rock band from northern Europe better deliver the goods or risk being mocked like a milquetoast salsa company from Havana. Self-described as a "Norwegian rock inferno," Oslo's WE was nowhere to be seen when their 8pm start time passed. Jetlag perhaps? Ten minutes later, same story. Around quarter past, opening swells of noise announced the band's arrival. The bass-drums-guitar triangle was joined by a shirtless, gourd-shaking lead singer, and together they shot out of the gates with an energized dose of molasses rock. Singing, "Ain't got no worries, ain't got a care in the world right now, I'm carefree baby," WE was all about party rock, Seventies-style. By the second number, the moderate-in-size-and-temperament Beerland crowd responded favorably to WE's sinewy basslines, arena-rock delivery, and hairdancing/headbanging. Throwing caution to the wind, the lead singer swung his skull around like Chris Cornell after several hits from the water pipe. Playing underneath their signature banner, WE cooked up spices of pre-Burn
era Deep Purple and the space rock flavors found on their latest Dinosauric Futurobic
(Black Balloon/Universal). As their showcase drew to a close, the club filled up with more locals and conference attendees. The front man responded by donning a Mardi Gras headdress and singing,"We sold our souls to rock & roll." While not terribly original, WE still had an unpretentiousness that was refreshing for this week's offerings.