Concert review: Blur for the Suit – VG

Concert review: Blur for the Suit – VG
Damon Albarn in Blur at the Island Film Festival.

Damon Albarn & Co. continues to find its place in Britpop and music history.


VG dice show 4 points

One of the most exhilarating reunions this summer was Bloor, of all people.

The band’s ninth album, “The Ballad of Darren,” released during the joint holiday, lives up to its title in every way: There’s a whiff of adult-life seriousness on the record’s best moments, but with mischievous moments. Nostalgia and a consistently high tone level.

There are many indications that this fourth (?) encounter after 35 years (!) is based on excess and desire. To put it mildly, Damon Albarn has a rich music career to draw on, as a solo artist, in Gorillaz and on all sorts of side projects. Buddies Coxon, James, and Rowntree also seem to have found themselves, whether through music or cheese.

Also read: Øya food test of the year

For the undersigned, the band’s former Oia gig exactly ten years ago—then with just one new song in the bag (the awesome “Under the Westway”)—is still a welcome celebratory memory. It will necessarily be the standard for tonight’s session.

Things have happened since last time. Not only does Albarn arrive onstage wearing glasses and a jacket — the band also kicks off the concert with “The Ballad,” a bittersweet and melancholic song that will likely be able to set the tone for the evening.

The suffix “St. Charles Square”, however, is highly reminiscent of Bowie with increasingly narrow nostrils. By comparison, the early hit “There’s No Other Way” becomes rather weak and directionless on Oya’s grand stage. “Popscene” doesn’t convince either, as it flops around on a stage that’s too big.

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Thankfully Blur has an arsenal of great tunes at its disposal. “Beetlebum” gets the party started, but the following songs – new and old – don’t quite live up to the introduction. Even Coxon’s great number “Coffee & TV” is seen as a little weak and unincorporated.

But starting with “Country House,” most things run smoothly. “Parklife”, “Until the End”, “Girls and Boys”. “This is low.”

These are true classics. But it’s performed in such a way that it doesn’t always feel very audience-oriented. “Tender” is a positive surprise, but the version in Tøyenparken is unlikely to win the band new fans.

Which brings us to the conclusion. “Narcissism” and “cosmopolitanism” attack roughly the same problem—alienation, vanity, capitalist grind, and hope for something else—in very different ways. Next, Blur is the best band in the world.

However, summary summary: They were actually much better at Øya 2013. Like many of us, if we’re being completely honest.


Ashura Okorie

Ashura Okorie

"Infuriatingly humble web fan. Writer. Alcohol geek. Passionate explorer. Evil problem solver. Incurable zombie expert."

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