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coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 55 - 04/08/01

Madrugada
Rockefeller, Oslo, 31.03.2001  

Rocke-bloody-feller. Shite. Hate the place. After spending the whole day recording, me and Pingo got us a white wine boost before entering a packed Rockefeller Music Hall, just in time (well, to be honest we missed the first 2 songs) for a blue evening. Quite amazing, two nights sold out (some 1,300 pr night, right?). Not many bands around Norway do that. But Madrugada have become huge. Massive. Yes, rock stars. Congrats!! You deserve it, more than many others.

Madrugada on stage. Total crowd control. Vocalist Sivert Høyem remote controls the audience with discreet hand moves. Like he's caressing the air, hypnotizing his listeners. Madrugada have become a tight unit after touring all over Norway, as well as parts of continental Europe since the successful launch of their debut album Industrial Silence back in 1999. This night was the last of a 3-week Norwegian tour to promote the new album, The Nightly Disease. The stage is quite a sight, bathed in red light the scene curtains behind the band looks like the finest velvet. And the sound! So crisp, so clean, so crystal clear. Hey, maybe Rockefeller isn't as crap as imagined. This night was to prove the arrogant tabloid hookers wrong. Madrugada were to show their live capability.

As mentioned Sivert is totally king behind the mic-stand, showing authority and coolness many would've killed for. His voice bears resemblance with and have been compared to many a singer; Nick Cave, Chris Isaak, Jeff Buckley, Mark Lanegan, Jim Morrison to name a few. Madrugada's music ooze of melancholy, from the blue moods of the twilight hours, like a late party just before dawn (hence their name). They're laidback and create dizzy feelings. Vocal comes in waves and shows Sivert's tambourine skills as well. A tosser throws his beer at Sivert, who tells stupid the truth in a gentle way. Then he picks up the acoustic guitar, and they show who's in charge by doing the quiet The Nightly Disease (Part I ?) when I guess most people awaited some fireworks to come out of the PA. Madrugada's not compromising, and the audience shows remarkably patience. It's just like Sivert's teasing the crowd, with Madrugada building up a tension. I guess they really want to put a solid period to this tour by throwing a spiff last gig in Oslo. Suddenly they start firing a line of hits from the hip: Hands Up - I Love You, first single off the new album, makes the crowd move. For a reason, yes, the song makes feet start tapping, not to speak of hands stretching upwards... Nice. Then: Beautyproof (I come to think of Swedish late 80s band The Leather Nun during this one) and Belladonna, and the crowd seems pleased, indeed. Madrugada don't write all fantastic songs, but they're really good at creating their own special atmosphere to hang on to. Of course underlined by the great voice of Sivert, but also by the (most of the time) discreetly delicate, followed up by rougher ticks of guitar playing by guitarist Robert S. Burås (as a strong homage to Jeffrey Lee Pierce, right?).

Towards the end of their set they steer into a more rocked file (Lucy One was one, right? I'm not familiar with last album), ending in quite a sonically distorted end (with a nice psychedelic colors scene show and all). Madrugada goes Sonic Youth, proving they're not only moody melancholics. Then they're off. One hour gone. Applause.

Encores, of course. Several (6 xtras I think)! Was that Step Into This Room And Dance For Me? And, Higher passing by, taking off? Finally they play the quiet and dark ballad Sister, which Sivert dedicates to his sister, as it's her birthday. Last song, Only When You're Gone, is like a lullaby for the audience, by now swaying, intoxicated not only by music. Madrugada say goodnight, and so do the crowd. So, what about the show then? They're as cool and blue as their music is, and with a man like Sivert up-front they've got a perfect target-man for hunting down the hearts among the audience.

Aftershow: Rockefeller "backstage". People mingle the nightclub area. Never liked backstage areas much. But this one at least brings a funny little anecdote to sum up this article with - picture this (hehe):
Pingo and myself were chatting with Madrugada drummer Jon, when a drunken fan comes over: "Hey! Aren't you with Madruuuuugada!? You were nice tonight!" Jon looks at the guy, smiles and... grabs him by the balls. Real good grip it seems. No surprise, the shocked man sodded off. Hehehe. As Pingo concludes: "To quote ELO: Rock'n'roll is king!"

Copyright © 2001 Håvard Oppøyen (assisted by Pingo) e-mail address (assisted by Pingo)

You may also want to check out our Madrugada articles/reviews: A Deadend Mind EP, Beautyproof (single), EP, Electric EP, Grit, Hands Up - I Love You, Higher EP, Industrial Silence, Industrial Silence, New Depression EP, Punktum, Mo i Rana, 28.11.1999, Ready EP, The Deep End, The Kids Are On High Street, The Nightly Disease.

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