Sort Sol live, Carlton and Wurst, 1987-1988
By Lone Nyhuus, journalist, former dancer and choreographer, 2006
The scary edge
“Steen only succeeded in striking the right note after five years. It wasn’t the note we went for, but the expression.” The words belong to Peter Schneidermann, the guitarist and co-founder of Sort Sol. He has also said about the same Steen Joergensen: “He was horribly out of tune, but that didn’t matter. For he was a singer. You could see it.”
Explosion and control
Peter Schneidermann, better known as “Peter Peter” is probably right. The Steen Joergensen of 1977, the year Sort Sol started as a punk band named SODS, is the same Steen Joergensen who performed ten years later in DR’s televised concert from the old Carlton porn cinema in Vesterbro. And Joergensen of the TV concert is the very epitome of a singer: As a large cat he wanders up and down the stage scaffolding - at once explosive and controlled. As if he could explode any minute.
And the tune? He is probably more in tune than he was ten years before. But there is this edge. It’s not out of tune, but nearly. We have the impression that Steen Joergensen is on the edge of something dangerous. Perhaps on the edge of the Sort Sol (Black Sun), a concept that has symbolised evil from ancient times. And he has the ability to grip us - the audience - along with him. Next to him, guitarists Peter Peter and Lars Top-Galia are “The Evil Twins”. Dressed identically, they back the big city crooner Joergensen with pulsating intensity. At the same time they tell their own jagged guitar stories.
Discharges of energy
The 1987 album Everything That Rises ... Must Converge was the artistic breakthrough for Sort Sol. To this very day, the album is unrivalled in Danish rock history. In the period around their breakthrough, the group’s concerts were some of the most forceful and intense rock music ever performed by a Danish band.
They are stories told with such violent discharges of energy that, at the same time, the musicians dissolve and create the stage in front of our eyes. They pull us along and pull us down. From there the musicians can entice us into the seduction of the stage.
As only a real singer, a real rock band, with a real stage show can do.
Did you know?
In December 1988, a rare single from the album Everything That Rises Must Converge was released - "As She Weeps". The single was a member gift for the members of the Danish Radeerforening (yes, such an association actually exists in Denmark!), Which this year could celebrate the anniversary. The renowned artist Knud Odde (bass player in Sort Sol) made 2 etchings on the b-side of the album, which was published in 550 numbered copies, signed by the artist himself.
The committee's justification
By The Committee for Performing Arts, 2006
In February 1986, the punk group Sort Sol played a concert in the disused Carlton adult cinema on Vesterbrogade, a concert characterised by such intensity, decibel levels, technical and human self-destruction, that it remains one of the 1980s’ clearest expressions of what dramatic art needed to do. Theatre and drama had to destroy itself in order to be reborn.
The following year, Sort Sol played four Easter concerts in a disused Vesterbro factory, known as Wurst, where we must acknowledge that these five eccentric freaks are our domestic chief proponents of the deconstructed, self-destructive and energetic dramatic art that was later formalised at Volksbühne in Berlin and here in the form of such people as Peter Langdal and, later, Anders Paulin.
Right from the very beginning, back when the group was called Sods, theatre figures, from Erling Schroeder to Kirsten Delholm, recognised the unique scenic potential in the then four-piece group. In the early punk years, Sods worked with the likes of the Billedstofteater theatre collective; however, it’s not due to direct theatre relation that Sort Sol deserve their place in the Danish performing arts canon. It is in the abandoned factories and cinemas in ‘86 and ‘87 where a rock group of five – evil twins at the front in Tyrolean dress and military helmets, one-armed Steen Jørgensen in black leather, as handsome as Montgomery Clift, and the wax-like background figures of Thomas Ortved and Knud Odde – destroy and regenerate performing arts as a human primal drift, a crack in reality where we look in to death and resurrection. Ultimately, Sort Sol reveal that it is only living dramatic art that is able to contain contemporary decay as rounded, enduring works.