Concert Reviews: THE NIGHT FLIGHT ORCHESTRA at John Dee (Oslo, Norway)


Sunday, November 11, 2018

by Jorge Patacas


For those who are not yet familiar with this band, it is worth mentioning that it is a side project of Björn “Speed” Strid and David Andersson (vocalist and guitarist of Soilwork, respectively), who while touring with their main band in 2007, they decided to start a group oriented to a completely different sound than what we are used to hear from them. This was the beginning of this journey, and then Sharlee D’Angelo (Arch Enemy / Mercyful Fate) on bass, Richard Larsson on keyboards and Jonas Källsbäck on drums joined the crew. Two years after the release of their debut album “Internal Affairs” (2012), the percussionist and guitarist Sebastian Forslund joined, and more recently, the choir singers Anna-Mia Bonde and Anna Brygård, better known as the “Airline” Annas followed the same path. In 2017 the band released their third studio album entitled “Amber Galactic” via Nuclear Blast getting a very good reception, then in 2018 they managed to release “Sometimes The World Is Not Enough”, their fourth album, for which they decided to go on a more extended promotional tour for the first time, which has landed only in European countries for now, being Norway one of the destinations. RISE! was able to attend the show.
On a personal note, this was the first time I was able to see them live and I had lots of expectations and curiosity to see how they carry out their performance. The show started punctually at 8:30 p.m. after the venue John Dee (established in 1997 with capacity for 400 people) opened the doors an hour and a half before. With a very enthusiastic audience, the musicians appeared on stage, each of them with a particular look which transported us back in time to the late 70’s and early 80’s classic pop and rock bands. They were wearing suits and sunglasses that remind us of bands like Electric Light Orchestra and even memories of Survivor came up to mind while seeing Björn that night, since he wears a beret very similar to that used by the vocalist Dave Bickler, like other bands of the time. The choir singers were dressed in stewardesses costumes and the backdrop with the logo of the band was behind them, so everything was ready for the band to start their set with “Sometimes The World Is not Enough” and “Living For The Nighttime”.

The aesthetic description matches perfectly with what they offer live, a show that recalls a brilliant era of music, but carried to the present day, showing that these sounds are really timeless. The Night Flight Orchestra does not try to evoke a particular band or sound, but manages to capture all their influences to create their own identity. Inspired by classic bands from the periods mentioned as Deep Purple, Toto, ABBA, Styx, Kool & The Gang and Survivor, to name a few, it is a pleasure to hear fresh sounds in this era, a band with great songwriting, where each of the members stands out differently during the show. The guitarist and mastermind behind each composition, David Andersson, always quiet and shy on stage, stands out with the guitar solos the songs require. It’s strange to see Björn “Speed” Strid in a non-metal band, however it’s here where his clean voice stands out more than ever; his skills as a vocalist are really impressive, even more considering that he is self-taught, as he told us in the exclusive interview we conducted with him some hours before the show. It is worth mentioning that Sharlee D’Angelo couldn’t be on stage this time due to his commitments with Arch Enemy, who were touring South America, being superbly replaced by Rasmus Ehrnborn, who also has a great presence on stage and was at the height of the circumstances, taking into account that the bass is an essential instrument in a band that evokes these mentioned periods of the history of music.

Each of the tracks shone before an audience that was really into the show and they responded accordingly every time the frontman talked to them, he even made several jokes in Swedish, which unfortunately I could not catch because I don’t understand any Nordic language yet.

Songs like “Midnight Flyer”, “Something Mysterious” and “Gemini” were part of this unforgettable night flight full of melancholy and several emotions. Once the “crew” retired from stage for the first time, the “passengers” asked for one more song again and again, so they came back to play three more tunes. They started the encore with the brilliant and powerful “This Time” and “Lovers In The Rain”, which is more AOR-oriented, both could be timeless hits if we were in the early 80’s instead of 2018, since we are talking of really good and very catchy singles, as it was at that time. I have no doubt that under these circumstances, The Night Flight Orchestra could have been stars with these two songs, although each of them produce a different reaction in the audience, from headbanging to dancing.
Their performance finished with “West Ruth Ave” from their first album, after which they greeted the crowd and left the stage. That was the end of an unforgettable Sunday night for those who love and yearn for this fusion of sounds that’s not so common these days. Highly recommended for those who have an open mind and allow themselves to enjoy a different side of musicians that we usually see in the metal scene. Undoubtedly it is a band that should be playing in bigger stages, but time will tell. Those of us who were there can confirm their show is really worth it. As an additional fact, the band has already been announced as part of the lineup of the 30th anniversary of the Wacken Open Air in 2019, so it is a good opportunity to see them live for those who are planning to attend the festival!



01- Sometimes the World Ain’t Enough
02- Living for the Nighttime
03- Speedwagon
04- Midnight Flyer
05- Turn to Miami
06- Moments of Thunder
07- Gemini
08- Something Mysterious
09- Josephine
10- Paralyzed
11- Can’t Be That Bad
12- 1998

13- This Time
14- Lovers in the Rain
15- West Ruth Ave



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