The third and final day of NS17 always has a bit of a heavy mood. The three dayers with partout armbands are feeling the pains of revelry from previous marathon drinking and stomping around, this year for most of the time in mud. The program this year for Sunday was almost completely downbeat – with the lords of gloom, Radiohead topping the bill that included James Blake, Agnes Obel and this extremely talented Norwegian guy, Mr. Thomas Dybdahl.
Dybdahl is a favorite on the Scandinavian festival and concert scene – his soulful blend of romantic pop, backed masterfully by one of the best bands you could ever hope to assemble, perform his pieces in such an uplifting way. Unlike the music of James Blake or Radiohead – seemingly designed to make you slit your wrists – Dybdahl’s live set would be uplifting, romantic and life-affirming if nothing at all. I’d given up on begging the bulk of my festival friends – who were nursing hangovers and brunching to the early evening – to come down and hear his set. They missed out on a true highlight of the day.
Dressed in a blue suit and sporting a straw hat, Thomas and his band hit the stage to a receptive audience – greeting us in his almost familiar native Norwegian tongue. He ran through a hefty number of newer tracks and crowd favorites – highlights including “Three Mile Harbour” and “one Day You’ll Dance For Me New York” – Dybdahl dropping to his knees for a passionate guitar solo and leading the audience on several forays to sing along. His incredible stage presence and positive and effusive outpourings rescued a lot of ailing crowd members who dropped by for the performance.
This being the first full-set I saw of our final day at NorthSide – it was an excellent beginning to what would become a challenging day of weather and mud for the huddled masses. I’d gladly see Thomas Dybdahl any day of the damn week and I think you know that you should too. Brilliant songs and a great vibe representing Norway in this year’s NorthSide.
"I’d gladly see Thomas Dybdahl any day of the damn week and I think you know that you should too. Brilliant songs and a great vibe representing Norway in this year’s NorthSide." (4.5/6)