A non-festive tradition: saving the best til last
If you’ve had enough of choirs singing Handel’s Messiah or listening to Last Christmas on the radio and are looking to find a non-Christmas related concert to go to, you should head to Vega on Saturday to catch one of Norway’s most popular and acclaimed singer-songwriters. His name is Thomas Dybdahl and, for the third year in a row, he will be playing the last concert before Christmas at Vega.
Known as “all of Denmark’s favourite Norwegian”, having been a darling of the Danish music industry for many years, Dybdahl has also gained a growing following outside of Scandinavia. His elegant, expressive and often melancholic songs of love and loss, as well as his soft and intense vocals, have led to music critics comparing him to such legendary singer-songwriters as Nick Drake and Jeff Buckley.
Born in 1979, Dybdahl first caught the attention of music fans as a guitarist with his high school band, the jazz-pop ensemble Quadraphonics. The band signed a contract with Virgin, gained a certain amount of success in Norway and even did a tour in the United States and Canada.
Dybdahl started writing his own songs but, as he felt they didn’t fit in with the band, he decided to record a solo EP in 2000. The record hardly received any press notice or sales, and a follow-up 2001 EP fared no better. Dybdahl’s luck soon changed, however, with his first full-length album, …That Great October Sound. Released in 2002, the album received great reviews nationally as well as internationally. The song ‘From Grace’ (a tribute to Jeff Buckley) became a big hit on Norwegian radio, and the album eventually went gold.
The release of his next two albums, Stray Dogs (2003) and One Day You’ll Dance for Me, New York City (2004), further enhanced his standing, and the three albums have become known as The October Trilogy. Known for his productivity, Dybdahl also teamed up with artists from the bands Jaga Jazzist and BigBang on the project The National Bank. In 2004, they released their self-titled debut album, which went straight into the Norwegian charts.
Dybdahl’s next solo album, Science, came out in 2006, and in the spring of 2007, he launched his first tour of the United States. After an unusually long break, Dybdahl returned in 2010 with a self-titled studio effort on the record label PIAS as well as Waiting for That One Clear Moment on Universal. In 2011, Dybdahl released the career-spanning overview Songs, and after a lengthy international tour, he re-entered the studio in 2012 and emerged with What’s Left is Forever in autumn 2013. The album was recorded in Los Angeles in co-operation with the renowned veteran producer Larry Klein (Joni Mitchell, Tracy Chapman, Herbie Hancock) who, commenting on the collaboration, told media: ‘I can’t remember having ever been more excited about an album I was about to release than this one. It turned me into another person.’
Dybdahl is known as a great live performer, who often spices his concerts with funny anecdotes and encourages people to ask him questions in between numbers. His trademark as a live performer is his ability to create a heartfelt connection with his audience, and he invariably receives at least four stars for his concerts. After a concert in Odense in November, Gaffa praised “an intimate and not least impressive (as always) live performance”. Dybdahl himself has commented that he has never had a bad concert experience in Denmark, and that he has always feels a strong connection with the audience here, which makes the concerts extra special.
Chances are that the concert on Saturday in Vega will be no exception, and you could be in for a real treat if ‘Norway’s Nick Drake’ – as the NME has dubbed him – lives up to his reputation!
Store Vega, Enghavevej 40, Cph V;
Saturday 21:00;tickets: 315kr, www.billetlugen.dk