SPAN (Live)

at John Dee, Oslo, Norway, October 17, 2003

Span. Got the name? Good.

Span is from Norway, but deserves to be embraced by the whole world as its own. Last year they recorded the album Mass Distraction which for some reason, or several, will not be released until February 2004 (on Island Records in Europe). Meanwhile they’ve put out a number of singles who are all something of the coolest hard rock I’ve heard from a debut-band for way too long.

Therefore I arrived at their sold out Oslo-show with great expectations. They have already got great reviews in UK press, including NME who wrote rock isn’t dead thanks to acts like Span. In their home country Norway the press seems to hold their breath as Span is one of very few Norwegian rock bands who these days (years…) are promising enough to get widely acclaimed abroad. As well they have now signed with Interscope for an US release.

The four guys of Span perform high-energy punk-grunge-rock delivered with catchy choruses who stick so easily to your head that everyone from new-comers Good Charlotte to the guys of Audioslave would and should get jealous. As well, singer Jarle Bernhoft has got a Chris Cornell (Audioslave)-like appearance, putting his whole weight behind every word he sings, making him grab and keep the audience’s attention from the very beginning to the very end.

The concert included about every song from the forthcoming Mass Distraction as well as another bundle of tracks not short of the standards of those chosen for the album. (By the way, the album is produced by Foo Fighters-producer Gil Norton.)

The group as a whole worked the stage as a power-unit, forcing every song forward with vast sensitivity. “On my way Down”, “Found” and “Papa”, songs released as singles, were greatly welcomed by an excited and devotes audience. Very rarely did the band take it easy on their instruments, most numbers being all kicking. An exception was “Missing in Stereo”, a slow tune, but then again performed by the singer and his guitar alone.

Span’s base is London where they have played several gigs. After some more shows in Norway they will soon be back in the UK playing there throughout this autumn. This will include a support job for the new Manchester-heroes Oceansize.

Go see them if you can. And take good care of your concert ticket afterwards. It might get very collectable.



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