Orions Belte is a psychedelic pop trio from Norway specializing in dreamy, groovy instrumental music. The band is made up of Øyvind Blomstrøm on guitar, Chris Holm on bass, and Kim Åge Furuhaug on drums. Releasing their debut album just over five years ago, the band has quickly made a name for themselves in their home country and internationally. Their latest record ‘Women’ was released earlier this month, and was featured on rotation here at WLUW. During the band’s US tour this fall, they stopped in Chicago to perform at The Empty Bottle. Before the show, Øyvind sat down with me for an interview.
After the interview, I hung around the venue for a bit until the show started. The Empty Bottle is really a great venue, home to a pool table, pinball machines, and a direct entrance to the neighboring pizza restaurant. The drinks are also relatively cheap, which made for an affordable and fun night for concertgoers.
The Chicago band Junegrass were the opening act for the night, and rocked the house with kraut-inspired instrumental jams. Throughout their set, the band slipped in and out of pysched-out grooves, like in the song ‘Perpetual Stew,’ which, much like a perpetual stew, starts slow and begins to pick up more strength and flavor as it progresses before mellowing out again into its conclusion.
When Orions Belte took the stage, Øyvind wasted no time with introductions, and the band got right into the action. They played multiple songs from their new record, Women, including the fun and relaxing Masacote, and the high flying Silhuettes. They also played Night Sky, a favorite of mine that takes a bit more of a somber tone, and features a chilled-out bassline from Chris sets the tone for the whole track.
The setlist also featured some old favorites, like What’s With You as well as New Years Eve #2, which were included on The Scenic Route streaming tour. On New Years Eve #2, Øyvind plays a dreamy guitar riff that sounds equally suited for a contemplative winter night or relaxing in the summer.
The band ended the show with their cover of the Milton Nascimento song Tudo Que Você Podia Ser. For Orions Belte’s take on the song, Øyvind’s guitar takes the place of Nascimento’s vocals, for a unique take on the song, which fits perfectly within the band’s greater body of work. Listening to the original it is clear to see the band’s sound was inspired by the work of Nascimento and other MBP artists of the 70s.
Orions Belte just finished their US tour in October, and are currently playing shows in their home country of Norway. Their latest album, Women, is out now available on Bandcamp and other streaming platforms.