DAY 12: A FIELD IN NORWAY

DOWN ON THE FARM.

 

More strange light.

A festival in the middle of an oat field in Norway.

The night before the gig, we head up to the site --- a tradition—at the very least, we'll need to check out the catering. Mercury Rev is on the big stage, huffing and puffing away.

The catering on the other hand, ain't bad.

Later that night in the barn, it's a psycho sock hop and the villagers are going nuts. The Tuborg must be kicking in. It's the Others at the Down On the Farm Barn Dance.

The "Others" are the alter ego of the legendary Finnish band 22 Pieskeperto.

We're well inspired. This gig makes me wish I was still drinking. Insanely good.

We hitch a ride back with the Finnish band to the hotel. In the dark van ride, we hold a discourse analysis on the finer points of Bo Diddley. It gets involved. It goes deep.

We make the connection.

Now fast friends, we decide to hang out until the sun comes up -- which, being the land of the midnight sun and all, is really right about now. When Kai, our old friend and promoter, promises to take us out on his new boat for some water-sports on a Fjord.

We take up his offer, and find a deserted cove near the Swedish border to swim in. We anchor outside about 100 feet.

We dock in an all but deserted village for ice cream. We make a sight for the locals. Disheveled but unarmed Americans.

We strip to our skivvies and dive into the breathtakingly beautiful briny—or what our Finnish friends call "Dirty water". Where the fresh water meets the salt water.

We get to the gig by boat Might be a first Call me Captain Willard Danny I'll call you Coronal Kurtz

Love that dirty water

FUN FACTS ON 22 Pistepirkko:

They were formed in a small village in Finland in 1980.

They recently did fifty gigs in fifty days and a film crew dragged along. They released a DVD documentary. There are well captured explosions musically and personally. They might be my new favorite band. A band that in many ways, succeeded where GOR failed, in surviving and chasing their elusive muse across decades. We claim to be brothers. They actually are brothers.

They make their own art. They make their own meals. Finland is the land of the Dark Rye, mushrooms, wild berries and Salmon. Salmon raw. Salmon smoked. Salmon salted. They're northerners. They got the Northern Soul. Artic circle northern. Throw a rock you'll hit Russia northern.

Green On Red play later tonight. After a set by new friend Shannon McNally and her comrades. More unarmed Americans we were glad to meet.

First there's a band from Texas playing the blues. I can't help but thinking that if you shook a tree in Austin, five of these guitar players would fall out... But they play this shit good, those Texans. Even if they're probably packing heat.

We play the gig and close the festival. We get weird. All goof ball grins. All merchandise shrapnel. All pants with sagging pockets.

Visions of Peets coffee, the lower Haight, and Mission Burritos in my head. Miz Finch in my heart.

Almost home.

It can't be over already.

What did Faulkner say? "The past isn't gone. It isn't even past."

 

*********THE END********************