February 26, 2024


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Oslo Blues Club is up and running again: The rest of August, the club will run double concerts: Photos, Video

Many blues clubs have not had concerts since the infection control measures were introduced in March, and most of the audience have only seen concerts on digital streaming online.

Some blues clubs have gradually had some smaller concerts, while others are in the process of starting the autumn season. Oslo Blues Club is among those who have started up again, despite the infection control measures that still create challenges.

JazzBluesNews had a chat with leader Rolf Johannessen in Oslo Bluesklubb on the occasion of the club’s first concert in almost five months.

– Our previous concert was March 7, with Southern Avenue, and after that all our events have been canceled, says Rolf. – We had planned a summer party, and our anniversary concert with Østkanten Bluesklubb has been moved twice. We were also not allowed to be in Notodden, where we live every year at the Red Cross house.

Today’s event is a kind of replacement for the «Trappa concert», which we have every year in Notodden. Then we rent a band that plays by the stairs at the Red Cross house, where we grill sausages and make a nice, free event for our members.

The rest of August, the club will run double concerts. There will be two concerts on the same ticket, with the concert starting at 15.30 and 18. 15/8 The Greens play first, before Joakim Tinderholt Band takes the last set. 22/8 it is Trond Granlund who plays first, before Vidar Busk and Marius Lien take over. 29/8 it is Håkon Høye’s turn, before Erik Harstad rounds off.

– We thought we would give a little back to the members who have been waiting for an opening since March, Rolf explains, and also give a job to the bands that have had their concerts canceled this spring.

What measures have you had to initiate to be able to arrange concerts that satisfy today’s infection requirements?

– We can have a maximum of 90 people here at Sosialen, and there will only be seats. We want people to buy tickets in advance, then we will have data for any infection tracking available. Any available tickets will be sold at the door, but I hope it will be sold out. I think people are craving concerts now. We on the board have spent a lot of time getting to know the current rules for infection control, and we have drilled the staff.

– We can only hope that people dare to go out, and that they come to a concert.

– Our audience is a bit over the years, and should probably be a little careful, says Rolf. – That is why it has been important to do things properly.

– Do you dare to plan ahead beyond what is currently set up by concerts?

– We aim to continue with our regular program. We have a Swedish band, Among Lynx, coming in early September. They are from what is now a green zone, so we hope it will go well. In October we have booked several American bands, we will probably have to cancel them. We have not received any official message yet, but they are not allowed to travel to Europe nor come to Norway without a 10-day quarantine. But we look forward to getting started again. When I meet members outside, everyone asks: When will there be a concert again?

Mr. Oslo Blues Club, Rolf Johannessen on stage at Sosialen.

Here, Rolf, also known as Mr. OsloBluesklubb, has to leave and work a bit again, the final preparations before this afternoon’s concert with the OBK favorites Jelly Roll Men must be arranged.

And if the audience has been waiting to experience a concert again, the band has also longed to be on stage again.

– We are really tired of sitting at home and not being able to play for people, says Kent-Erik Thorvaldsen.

Outside the Social Center, there was a queue of people already half an hour before opening. When the members eventually came in, not everything was as before. The joy of meeting good, old blues friends you have not seen for a long time was palpable, but unlike before, people did not meet with a good hug. The distance of one meter is kept as good as possible.

The Jelly Roll Men, from left Øyvind Stølefjell, Kent Erik Thorvaldsen and Thomas Grim Thorvaldsen.

Jelly Roll Men delivered an excellent concert, and showed in full why this band has become one of the club’s favorites.

While the rest of us heard good, old blues, grill master Terje Åsvestad was grilling sausages in the backyard. These were served for free during the break. and tasted really good.

And after the concert, Sosialen arranged a shrimp buffet; delicious summer food that tempted more people to stay a little longer on the shady outdoor terrace at Sosialen this warm late summer evening. Kent Erik was also tempted to play a little more, so we got a nice little solo show as a bonus.

With the measures that were taken at the “sausage party”, it seemed that the infection control was well taken care of. Everyone was showered with alcohol in their hands on arrival, and the name and telephone number were noted for any infection tracking. The social room has set up partitions with Plexiglas between the seating groups, and there is better space between the tables. Arrows are marked on the floor that regulate the queue at the bar and ensure that people do not get too close to each other. The audience also behaved in line with what is recommended, and it felt safe to be at Sosialen this afternoon.

The combination of real, live blues of the very best kind and a meeting with blues friends made it a wonderful summer evening in Møllergata. Then it is only to be hoped that the audience fills the seats on the club nights ahead, and again comes out to enjoy the live music.

Kent Erik delivered an extra concert in the backyard.

Oslo Bluesklubb er i gang igjen

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