His music tastes like those breakfasts in Summer when one is in vacations and the only worries are “Which beach are we going today?”. His band is made up of three really relaxed fellas from Sicily, where he has been living for the last six years in Syracuse with his mother. And He is a character. Erlend has his Italian on point and it was in this beautiful language that he used for more than half of the show. As they entered the stage we knew we were in for a great one and that the only problem would be the lack of time since a three hours show could have been the perfect timing.
In Lisbon he knows he has many fans, mainly coming from his works in “Kings of Convenience” where he had his friend Boe were both the sole responsible for three albums that held high the Norwegian flag from 2001-2009, their most active years. However it was already in 2003 that Erlend got bored with only this project and decided to create “The Whitest Boy Alive”, which he probably is, and to which Boe joined when touring its first album “Dreams” from 2006. In 2009 we got the last album of both Kings of Convenience and The Whitest Boy (which actually ended in 2014) and started gaining the relevance of Erlend Oye’s solo project. And what a ride that one has been. The smile in the crowd’s face could have not been better when “Intentions” (Whitest Boy Alive) started rolling immediately as his third song of the show last night.
His solo project starts actually when he starts experimenting with music in 1996, already twenty-two years ago. Who would say this guy is almost completing 25 years of career?! In 2003 he releases his first solo album named “Unrest”, composed of ten songs, each one wrote in a different city, from which he played a couple of songs. “Every Party Has a Winner and a Loser” written in Barcelona and played live for the first time with his “Comitiva”, the name given to the three Italian Amicos, and “Prego Amore” written in Rome were the most memorable from this 15 year old album that still sounds as raw as he made it sound back then. It was only eleven years after, 2014, that he released his first “Italian Inspired” album, “Legao”, and from which we heard almost all of the ones we wanted to hear.
Although with all the above mentioned one could picture an incredible show, Erlend had some key surprises ready that made it the Perfect one. The first one happens when he pulls an old microphone in order to play three instrumental songs in a more intimate moment. The microphone was supposed to grant the songs a “40’s retro sound so you have to be really quiet to enjoy it”. The retro sound I did not hear, however I did hear three beautiful moments starting up with “Bologna” solely played by him and Stefano, Ukelele and Guitar, which certainly would take you to Italy, if you have been, as soon as you would close your eyes. The second one included a clarinet which was present from then on in a couple of songs and is a magnificent add-on! And finished this moment with “Chile”, written at 6am when in the border of Chile with Peru with his Comitiva. “I’m always nervous when I do this experiences, but not that much when I do it in Portugal” he stated, which has a clear explanation. His concert was flawed. He stopped several times in order to tune in better with the band, or just restart for the sake of perfectionism. However the Portuguese audience was highly respectful and knew when to laugh and help this shy Norwegian man to relax.
The second surprise was probably the most unexpected moment of the show. “On Sunday, we were going down the streets of Lisbon, when a Brazilian asked us what was the instrument Luigi played. When we said “Cavaquinho” this happened…” and Erlend just leaves the stage and joins the audience dancing like crazy the “Mina do Condomínio” hit from Seu Jorge with the whole band playing the genre perfectly and singing in a more than acceptable Portuguese tone. While many were the attempts of taking selfies with Erlend when he was in the middle of the audience even more were the rejections. This is one of those artists that hates this “modern era” of filming concerts with phones and selfies all the time, and we also love that!
“I’m always nervous when I do this experiences, but not that much when I do it in Portugal”
Finally, for his encore, we saw him alone with his guitar and clearly the environment completely changes to something that in a kind way sent us to bed. Outside the concert I could listen to some saying “This was a bit boring… I miss the Kings of Convenience”; “I wish this show was in the beach while sunsetting in Summer” however if you ask me, this was one of the best concerts of my life! And I do not say this lightly. I am a big fan of “Whitest Boy Alive”, a good fan of Erlend solo/Italian adventures and a “not so” fan of Kings of Convenience, and my intention was getting to know this Norwegian musical genius, that presented itself unimaginably happy to be there, with a crazy good band of three Sicilians that made a lot of Portuguese girls leave their boyfriends last night really jealous and finally a constant smile on everyone’s face that made us feel that at least for those two hours the World outside of Capitólio wasn’t as shit as it really is.
Some pictures of the show when my camera was not using glasses:
Thank You Erlend!
And if you haven’t been there yesterday, please find yourself a ticket for his next two shows, the 18th in Coimbra and 19th in Guimarães!
Article by: Jaime Pignateli and Joana Barbosa