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flag Norway - Full Moon 37 - 10/24/99

The Aller Værste!
Rockefeller, Oslo, October 1st 1999

Another night on the town for old-timers

The Aller Værste! (or: TAV!, meaning The Very Worst!) two days after the Lars Hollmer gig was a different cup of tea. The band was among the pioneers of the Norwegian new rock movement inspired by British punk, ska, reggae and new wave. They released two singles, an EP and two albums in 1980 and 81, some of which were broadcasted on BBC's John Peel Show. This autumn they've reunited to promote the release of a Best of CD off those recordings. I first saw them live in Bergen - where they had their headquarters - in the winter of 1980 before the first single was released. I got hooked a little later and have seen them several times since, including previous reunions in 1983 and 1990. I had mixed feelings about this gig, but in the end nostalgia persuaded me to attend. And a nostalgic gig it was. Once I considered the band - and revolutionary guitarist Chris Erichsen in particular - to be a dangerous threat to the establishment. It was a long time ago. These days TAV!'s old lyrics, in Norwegian, sound rather innocent and unharmful. I also considered guitarist/organist Lasse Myrvold and bassist/organist Harald Øhrn to be the utmost lyricists of the Norwegian rock scene. Some of the 20-year-old TAV! lyrics sound quite youthful and immature by now. They have written better lyrics later in their careers, though the best TAV! lyrics are still excellent.

TAV! at their very first reunion gig, November 1983 The band played the old songs in a competent way, and had made a few changes here and there, but not many. It seemed it was a long time since last they had practised playing the Farfisa organ. In fact they didn't possess their old organ and had to borrow The Tables' Farfisa, about the only one available in town. I guess they never faced an audience as big as this (probably around one thousand) back in the 80s. I overheard Harald Eia - one of Norwegian national television's celebrities - exclaiming TAV! was the best band in Norway. They probably were - once. They played Spisse Sko (Pointed Shoes), Du Sklei Meg Så Nær Innpå Livet, Blålys, Materialtretthet, Store Sterke Damer, Døgnflue, and several other old favourites including a version of Abba's SOS, though not Fleetwood Mac's Albatross in ska disguise. I kind of enjoyed the gig - for old times' sake. Also, it was a remainder that the people on stage and lots of familiar faces in the audience (even myself) are getting older, and a lot of water has passed under the bridge since TAV! was a touring force. For those who have all the old TAV! recordings, the new album is only worth checking out because of a live version of Bare Ikke Nok including a symphony orchestra. This recording is from February 1981 when TAV! received the Norwegian Grammy (sort of) for the best new wave album of 1980 and has only been available on a flexi-disc earlier.

Of the two old-timers' gigs, Lars Hollmer seemed the most relevant in 1999 - by far. Maybe TAV! can regain some of the old spirit if they stay together and make some new songs?

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