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Radical Face
Parkteatret, Oslo, Norway, 17 November 2015

This had to be one of those nights. Magic. Great. Perfect. Radical Face (a.k.a. Ben Cooper) visits Norway for the first time, just after the release of the Bastards compilation. But, first comes the opening act:

RickoLusBeing a fellow Floridian of Cooper, Richard J. Colado (a.k.a. RickoLus) enters the stage. He immediately takes us into the wildly charming indie-folk of his RickoLus project. Throughout a short, humorous set he presents a handful of his songs. Rumour has it that he has hundreds, thousands of songs - all recorded in his garden shed over many years. Armed as a real street troubadour: sitting with an acoustic guitar (sometimes fuzzed) on his lap, with a bass drum for his right foot, and a tambourine strapped to his left foot. Ready-steady-go! He sings about a fox ("The Lonely Fox"), a mule and a coyote ("The Coyote and the Mule"), jokes to the audience, plays "Candy Blood" and "Snow Globe". RickoLus is tired after touring, but he is in a joyful mood, and gets the entire audience to howl like a coyote during the mentioned song. Ben Cooper enters the stage to accompany him on a couple of songs. Then, thank you and off. I raided the merch table to buy his albums. His music is said to be 'broad and varied and is influenced by many genres, and the words and sayings of his young daughter Lil.' Sometimes he reminds me of something near the alleys/valleys of Jeff Mangum's song world. He's got an exciting catalogue for sure. You should check out his official RickoLus website.

Intermission.

Ben CooperEnter Radical Face, meaning Ben Cooper backed by Richard J. Colado (yes, the very RickoLus) on piano/drums/etc., and a guy named Josh on cello. The atmosphere was loose and pleasant, as Cooper took his chair ready to serve us his songs. He seemed a bit tired, and admitted to be so (touring leading to stomach problems...). But, the friendly tone and the laidback and loose mood on stage effected the audience as well. They kicked-off with the rather dark "Wrapped In Piano Strings" (off Ghost), and the audience were caught right from the very start. All the time Cooper took his time, joked with his friends on-stage (and they joked back), while slowly introducing and explaining most of the songs through a short and fragile but indeed a good and strong set. A set which included songs from all of his albums: "Along the Road" and "Winter is Coming" (off Ghost); "Ghost Towns", "The Dead Waltz", and "Always Gold" (from The Roots); "Summer Skeletons" and "Holy Branches" (from The Branches). Of course, he ended his set with the now famous "Welcome Home" (off Ghost), and the audience was a big, happy choir. The cheering and the applause didn't stop, so the three of them took the stage again to do an encore - based on requests: they did "The Mute" (off The Branches), and did the beautiful "Sisters" (from the The Bastards Vol. 3, as well as the newly released compilation, The Bastards). The joker RickoLus did good miming his piano playing to Cooper's on-tape, pre-recorded 'accompaniment'. Great fun, great song. Then, the final song was up, introduced as a song from a Disney film. Out came a medley: "Not In Nottingham"/"Oo-de-lally" by Roger Miller, known as the narrating rooster Alan-A-Dale in Disney's animated tale Robin Hood (1973)! My old fave flick from back when I was a young boy. (I knew the Norwegian score by memory - word by word, song by song, scene by scene - long before I saw the film...). Throughout this closing song (or: songs), RickoLus amused the audience once more, miming scenes from the film to the music - all over the stage: jumping, dancing, playing tambourine. A great end to a super show. What a great visit from The Sunshine State!

Copyright © 2015 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Radical Face articles/reviews: Ghost, Sunn, The Family Tree: The Bastards, The Family Tree: The Branches, The Family Tree: The Leaves, The Family Tree: The Roots.

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