October means time for Color Line’s blues cruise from Oslo to Kiel, and this year the cruise had a great line-up. From US came Nick Moss Band, Mike Zito & the Wheel and Dave Fields, from Sweden KnockOut Greg & the Injectors and from Norway Greasy Gravy feat. Linda Kvam and JT Lauritsen & Buckshot Hunters.
The departure from Oslo took place on a beautiful sunny Thursday afternoon. But there was not much time to enjoy the view, already 15 o'clock it was show time in the big show lounge. Nick Moss Band had the pleasure of starting up, and the band from Chicago set a high musical standard! Some sound problems the first songs seemed to make the band frustrated, but it improved eventually.
Swedish KnockOut Greg & The Injectors had to fight for space on the dance floor in the disco with swing dancers. KnockOut Greg & the Blue Weather was a very popular band in Norway a few years back. They toured blues clubs and festivals all over, and always delivered great r&b- and blues shows. The front man Greger was a few years ago tired of the touring and took some time-out from the music. Now however, he again has found his inspiration and is on the road again. On the cruise, he brought his band The Injectors, a 6-piece band with two saxes. The band shared the dance floor with a bunch of enthusiastic swing dancers who danced uninterruptedly. Hearing KnockOut Greg again after a long absence was hilarious! The band is very tight, Greger sings even better than before and is a brilliant frontman.
Greasy Gravy (pictured below) recently made a come back. The band featured Linda Kvam, who along with Tom Erik Holmlund took care of the vocals. Linda Kvam fit well in the line-up, and has a voice that is perfectly for the band's classic soul songs.
Jan Tore Lauritsen presented a special edition of his band, The Buckshot Hunters. As a substitute on bass was Swedish Stefan Klementsson. He has for many years arranged the jam session at Åmal`s blues festival, so he should be a well known face for those who tend to travel there. The band brought also a harmonica player for the occasion, Stefan Seger. He also plays harp with Norwegian Hawker Blues & Boogie Band, so you might have seen him before.
In the pub there was Dave Fields who kept house with his Norwegian band. Dave visits Norway several times every year, so then it must be allowed to call him a "Friend of Norway", with a positive sign! As always, the club was packed. One after the other stopped by to "sit in" with the band.
Friday morning we woke up in Kiel, and the German town met us with grey and wet autumn weather. Some chose to stay on board and enjoy the ship's facilities, while others took out the umbrella and headed towards the town centre. The city's shops tempted some, while the rest seemed to end up on German bars for a solid power-lunch.
Jan Tore Lauritsen (pictured above) with friends, many friends, had the first session Friday and created a great atmosphere and got people out on the dance floor. It became full party from early afternoon and there were only happy faces to see.
Ten years ago Nick Moss jammed with a Swede in Switzerland. They had not met since then, before someone told Nick that the Swede was on the same ship. It was KnockOut Greg he had jammed with, and Greger Andersson brought his harmonica and played with Nick Moss Band on some songs during their concert Friday night. A fantastic combination. Nick Moss Band delivered a top-class, amazing concert.
Mike Zito and The Wheel had the somewhat challenging task to close the evening on stage in the big show lounge. When the concert started at midnight already some of the guests had gone to rest. Norwegians like Mike Zito - and also vice versa! The band delivered a great concert, we even got some songs from Zito's next album coming out in November.
Color Line`s blues cruise has become a biannual event, with cruise both spring and autumn. The ship is nearly sold out, so it is obvious that it is popular. Except when you go on board and when you leave the boat, you have a feeling of having plenty of room although it is fully booked. In addition to the concerts the audience can enjoy the boat's different facilities, such as the spa, different restaurants, casino a.o.
In April is the next cruise, and the program includes among others the fabulous Victor Wainwright & the Roots, the Spanish EBC winner Travellin' Brothers, GB Blues Express with Deak Harp, Daniel Eriksen, Trond Olsen and Ronny Aagren with his new concept. So I guess it is soon time for booking the next Color Fantasy ticket.
Text and photo: Nina Hanssen
Mike Zito with his bass player, Scot Sutherland.
Nick Moss and Greger "KnockOut Greg" Andersson.