If you have heard of Hurra Torpedo, aka the kings of Norwegian appliance rock, chances are it is from an Internet video clip of their 1995 appliance-smashing performance of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” on Norwegian television. Based on that clip, it would be easy to dismiss Hurra Torpedo as a one-hit, shtick-based novelty act. But take away the too-small tracksuits, the displays of male butt cracks, and the wanton destruction of appliances and you are still left with a live band that seriously rocks and rocks hard. (In fact, in their 13 years as Hurra Torpedo, the band has relied almost exclusively on their live performances to spread the word. They released just one vinyl single ten years ago, and not until last year an EP; and this year finally an entire album).
As they took the stage last Friday at the State Theatre in Falls Church, band members Kristopher Schau (who sings, and plays a deep freezer, stoves (with the help of lead pipes and huge, padded gloves), mixers, and waffle iron castanets), Aslag Guttormsgaard (guitar, vocals, lead pipes, and stoves), and Egil Hegerberg, (bass, guitar, vocals, washing machines, and oven racks) were greeted by the audience with wild enthusiasm.
After about 15 minutes of the bandâ€™s melodic mayhem (sung in both English and Norwegian), some audience members got up from their tables. Had they grown tired of the â€œjokeâ€? Were they heading home? Hardlyâ€”they were joining the ever-growing crowd in front of the stage. And soon being led by the band in an impromptu square dance.
The band played an excellent, energetic set of originals and covers, including Britney Spearsâ€™ â€œToxic,â€ and, of course, â€œTotal Eclipse of the Heartâ€ as a bombastic encore. During this tour, the band also plays a local cover; for this show, it was Marvin Gayeâ€™s â€œHeard it Through the Grapevine.â€
After the show, the thoroughly exhausted band members insisted that the audience stay and drink with them. Most everyone there took them up on the offer, and also took advantage of the opportunity to scavenge the stage for souvenir burners, grills, and other bits of appliances. Then the band were back on the bus and off to Lawrence, Kansas for the next show on their cross-country U.S. tour. Then back to Norway for more gigsâ€¦.
Future plans, after a well-deserved break this fall, include tours with their other bands (The Cumshots and Black Debbath), Schauâ€™s new show for Norwegian television, and then more Hurra Torpedo shows in France, the Netherlands, Japan, and Morocco.
For more on the band, including footage from their forthcoming documentary and their classic performance of â€œTotal Eclipse of the Heart,â€ visit Hurra Torpedo’s official site. Also check out an excellent video of their cover of Tatuâ€™s â€œAll the Things (S)He Said.”