Life: Live at Røverstaden - Knut Reiersrud Band
40 years on, and Knut Reiersrud has returned to the place where it all started. Along with his band, two of the capital's best sound engineers and a camera crew of five he filled the basement room in Munkedamsveien with people and electric guitars.
The place: known as Club7 in the 70s and 80s, now under the moniker Røverstaden: this was where Reiersrud had his first professional gig. The concert in June 1979 was such a success that the club employed him as a standby act for when booked bands failed to appear for whatever reason. Knut could always find people, and he had hundreds of blues songs filling his 18 year old head. The Knut Reiersrud / Tore Hartvik Kristensen duo stood for the musical blue color at Club7 - until Hartvik in 1982 caught a 400 kilo shark and moved to Rosendal to become a fisherman. But Knut continued, also when the club changed its name to Sardines in 1986, and he stood on stage every Monday with Oslo Allstars until the place closed in 1988.
Knut Reiersrud's approach to the blues is an idiosyncratic one, with multiple traditions magically blending to create a sound that is distinctly his own. Blues, whether southern pastoral, soulful urban, or gospel-tinged, through to proto-funk or R'n'B (in the original sense), all find their way into his sound, all seasoned with hints of jazz, Nordic folk and some far eastern vibes. In his playing, you can hear, even feel, the history of the electric guitar, from Charlie Christian to John Mayer, and everyone in between.
The album features Reiersrud (co-)compositions predominantly, with the exception of "When Seasons Change" (Curtis Mayfield), and "I Can't Stop" (Doctor John & Doc Pomus). Of Reiersrud's own material, it goes right back to the mid-90s and up to the present.
Reiersrud in live performance is a different animal from Reiersrud, the conscientious studio musician. The playing is more emotive, more free, more gutsy … simply more. No one who has seen him play live, whether with his band or solo, forgets the experience. It is electric, dazzling, emotional. It is raw and untamed music, a force of nature. Reiersrud's decision to bring two of Oslo's best sound engineers, Frank Gjersdal and Anders Aasebøe, has paid dividends as they have managed to capture the sound, mood and energy of the Røverstaden gig.
"Life – Live at Røverstaden" features Bjørn Holm (vocals, guitar, and lead vocal on "Jordan's Water"), David Wallumrød (vocals, Hammond B3, Clavinet, Fender Rhodes), Nikolai Hængsle (vocals, bass) and Andreas Bye (drums), all in sterling form, matching the intensity and virtuosity of Reiersrud's guitar and harmonica playing. The album is proof, if any were needed, that true blues men, wherever they come from, age like fine wine. Raise a glass to the next 40 years!