Honningbarna Upstairs in Whelan’s: Live Review


Upstairs in Whelans November 14th 2012

Sometimes a language barrier can be an issue, especially in music but when Honningbarna take to the Whelan’s stage, the fact that they sing in their native Norwegian tongue makes no difference. Honningbarna are a punk rock band from a Christian area in Norway and since winning a Spelleman award, the equivalent of a Norwegian Grammy for their debut album, ‘La alarmane gå’. Since that the band have overcome tragedy, with the death of their drummer, Anders Askildsen Eikås, in January this year.

The energy that the band exude beautifully matches the frantic nature of their music and here upstairs in Whelan’s they are as happy to make the most of the floor space in front of the stage, as that of the stage itself. The band wear the same clothes on stage all the time, a sports top, a boiler suit while front man, Edvard Valberg, sings and plays cello while wearing a schoolboy’s uniform.

Tonight, the band show a little more of a rock than straight up punk sound, helped along by some epic classic guitar licks. The band give every ounce in every song and their enthusiasm for their own music is infectious. Although there’s a small crowd here tonight, it doesn’t matter, every note is being played with urgency. The type of urgency that makes you want to be fifteen again and be in a band.

Honningbarna are fantastic performers, bouncing off each other and easily winning the punters over. The question and response vocal style of the band would obviously work a little better in a language the audience could understand, allowing them to partake. Honningbarna are a politically motivated band and despite the majority of the assembled audience not speaking the language or understanding the lyrics, the belief and passion the band have make up for this, easily. To the right, just in front of the stage, there are a pocket of people, singing every word of every song, giving it welly. Towards the end of the set, Edvard leaves the stage and joins them as they all jump up and down in unison. The group includes Edvard’s Mother and sister, who have joined the band in Ireland. Thumbs up for Mrs Valberg!

The energy and determination this band have is infectious and is a something special to behold. Take note, one of the best live bands I’ve seen.

edit: I put this video on youtube