Last Saturday the legendary 70’s rock band Aunt Mary visited Lillestrøm and proved that they’re back in business.
Aunt Mary is probably one of the finest bands Norway has to offer when it comes to progressive rock. Starting out in in the late 60’s, they’ve made some quite interesting albums the short period of time they existed. The band today consists of the original guitarist Bjørn Kristiansen, former Høst bassist Bernt Bodal and Glenn Lyse on vocals and rhythm guitar. Drummer Ole Tom Torjussen and Ola Aanje on keyboards complete the line-up live. Kristiansen is now the only original remaining member, after drummer Ketil Stensvik passed away last year.
Aunt Mary disbanded in 1973, but they’ve played live a couple of times since 1978. The last album was released back in 1992, entitled Bluesprints, and now they’ve finally released a new record, New Dawn. The concerts in Trondheim and Lillestrøm sort as a promotional tour for the album, and there’s already a lot more shows coming up.
So, what was the concert like? They started out with a couple of songs from the new album, which sounded a bit more blueslike than the older material. Quite catchy and enjoyable. The next song coming up was Rosalind from the 7” released back in 1972, and the 2016-version of it sounded good, but it’s a bit disappointing that Lyse didn’t know the lyrics and had to look down at the lyric sheet most of the time during the song. I don’t know if he didn’t have the time to learn them or what not, but it sure is not very rock’n’roll. That aside, he did a fair job with the vocals, although he hasn’t quite the edge that was characteristic of the deceased vocalist Jan Groth, while Lyse is more of a straight forward rock’n’roll singer.
In the beginning of the show, the band had trouble hearing the drums, and adressed the sound engineer a couple of times, but this doesn’t seemed to affect anyone in the audience. Halfway throughout the set, Aunt Mary gave us their heavy version of Edvard Grieg’s In the Hall of the Mountain King, where Kristiansen really could show off his guitar abilities. Nice job, man!
The set was a mix between the new album and some good old tunes, including Joinin’ the Crowd and G Flat Road from Loaded. The last one is the encore of the evening, and is also re-recorded on the new album. But before the encore, Aunt Mary’s probably biggest hit, Jimi, Janis and Brian was served to the audience, and got a well deserved and cheerful applause in return.
An interesting observation, is that the audience were obviously a bit different than the audience I’m used to, being a lot older than the usual metal fans at the concerts I’m frequenting, and a lot of them are probably not regularly concert participants – at least not anymore. Despite of that, it seemed like they were having a really good time out there, and some of them were certainly re-living their youth. It was indeed quite touching to witness these three grey haired guys front row, with their arms around each other rocking out. And that’s what this is all about: Listening to music and have a good time.
What more is there to say? It was certainly a pleasure to experience Aunt Mary live, and hopefully this is just the beginning.