Elmo, Movits!, Ludvig Svartholm

On Thursday 6th, we toddled down to Debaser Slussen (pic above and click it for a gallery of the venue and area). We had no idea who was playing, we just wanted to get out of the hotel and see some bands. So, we were very chuffed to see not one but three cool acts!

First on were Ludvig Svartholm. Seeing the large lineup and varied instruments, I expected something Arcade Fire-y. What I got was a mix of very catchy folk with some hints of country. Doing this kind of intense, quiet music is always a challenge in a rock venue but I have to hand it to the band, they pulled it off flawlessly.

Next up were Movits!, who, again, I got completely wrong. I expected a Blues Brothers r’n’b workout but instead I got some fine Swedish hip hop with a hefty dollop of swing. And I mean swing as in Benny Goodman, not Teddy Riley. Movits! rocked the crowd, made everyone smile and laugh and dance and jump around. Excellent!

And the night finished with headliners Elmo. This was the one band I had pegged right: before they went on, loads of girls went up the front, staking out their positions. “Hmmm,” I mused, “I bet this lot are young, pretty, wear mascara and ROCK!” And, lo, I was right! Elmo did a catchy set of anthemic stompers, veering from New York Dolls rabble-rousing to almost Merseybeat boppiness. And they did a pretty damn good cover of ‘The KKK Took My Baby Away’ too!

Wow – what a great night! Seeing three bands I’d never heard of before, them all being vastly different genres and yet all good! I liked them so much, I bought each of their records from the rather charming lady womanning the merch stall. πŸ™‚

And what a great little venue Debaser Slussen is: fantastic space, location, lights, PA, staff – I can’t fault it. I wish we had that level of venue round here but I guess it’s unfair to compare Derby with a capital city.

Ahhhh… Stockholm!

Click the band pics for individual galleries!

Baba Sonic, Stockholm

On Wednesday the 5th, we shook a leg at the remarkably loud Baba Sonic club. We met these lovely people:

The girl taking pics says hello by thumping one on the arm. Quite hard! πŸ™‚

And then we spotted this feller:

How can you not like a club with a resident croupier? πŸ™‚

He was a cool dude. Watching endless people lose at the table was quite entertaining in the gaps between dancing to Dexy’s and pumping Eurodisco.

Click the pics for the gallery!

Hej Hej Stockholm!

Jyoti Landet
Photo by Mattias Cosy Den

Last week, I played at Landet, Stockholm.

And it was excellent!

The gig was organised by Cosy Den (thank you, Mattias!) and I again had the privilege of playing with the urbane and debonair Erik HalldΓ©n:

Landet is a wonderfully intimate and ..er.. cosy venue but it’s also got great lights and a PA that would shame many a larger club. It’s such a joy to play and actually be able to hear oneself (and thanks also to Gaz for doing a great job on the sound again).

I loved being able to lock around the people in the audience, from face to face and sing directly to them. I guess I’m just not rock’n’roll – my favourite type of gig is exactly this kind of small, personal affair. The first half of my set was acoustic, just me warbling over my hamfisted guitarrings. The second half was similar but with the addition of electronic backing tracks. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the whole thing had fallen as flat as a pancake!

But the audience… oh, what lovely people, as attentive and polite as they were windswept and gorgeous. I really couldn’t imagine a British audience being so charming and gracious, sadly.

Afterwards, I got the best reaction any songwriter could ask for: two beautiful ladies separately approached me and said how my set had made them feel a bit emotional and tearful. They understood exactly what my music is about. Yes! I am the king of indiegothelectrofolk! πŸ˜€

And I had even more flattery in the course of the week that followed while I was still in Stockholm. I kept bumping into people who’d been at the gig and searched me out at gigs and clubs to tell me how much they’d enjoyed the set. As if I wasn’t enough of a rampaging bighead already! (Coming back to my normal Derby life has been somewhat of a shock to the system after all that…)

This was another dream gig for me and I’m not surprised it happened in Sweden. There’s a spirit, a pure passion for music there that doesn’t seem present on these shores where everything seems far more cliquey and “cool.” And I’m entirely the wrong size, colour and age to be cool, after all! I just can’t fit into them skinny trousers! πŸ˜‰

To everyone who was at Landet, thank you for listening and all the sweet things you said after the gig. Hopefully, I’ll be seeing you again, soon!

And next on the gig trail…

Finland! πŸ™‚

Evel Knievel’s Greatest Leap

Evel Knievel - we'll miss you!

Legendary US daredevil Evel Knievel has died at the age of 69, his granddaughter has said.

Knievel had suffered ill-health, including diabetes and pulmonary fibrosis – an incurable lung condition – for several years.

He underwent a liver transplant, after nearly dying of hepatitis C, in 1999.

Knievel gained cult status performing death-defying stunts in the 1960s and 70s, including an attempted motorcycle jump over Snake River Canyon in Idaho.

By the time he retired in 1980 Knievel had broken nearly 40 bones.

(Source: BBC News)

If you were a kid in the ’70s as I was, Evel Knievel was an inspirational figure. He’d regularly be in the news, jumping off things, over things, through things.

I remember getting my own little Evel Knievel, as seen above, when I was around seven or so. I went mad on it. I’d send Evel careering up ramps, through drainpipes. I even tried to light him on fire a couple of times.

In this tiny way, I wanted a bit of the real man’s magic to catch on me. I wanted to be as brave, as inventive, as dashing and, yes, sometimes as foolhardy as Evel Knievel.

He was a real hero.

RIP, mate.

Australia To Withdraw From Iraq

Kevin Rudd
PM-elect, Kevin Rudd

Australia’s prime minister-elect says the country’s 550 combat troops will leave Iraq by the middle of 2008.

Under Mr Howard Australia was a keen supporter of the US-led invasion and made an early troop commitment.

Labor Party leader Kevin Rudd came to power in a landslide election victory on Saturday.

He has previously described the decision to go to war in Iraq as the “single greatest error” of Australian national security and foreign policy decision-making since the Vietnam war.

Until Mr Rudd’s election victory, the US had counted Australia as one of its few allies in the war in Iraq – although due to the small number of Australian troops deployed, their significance was largely symbolic.
(Source: BBC News)

Country by country, Bush’s allies fall away. Politicians, after all, need the votes of the public to stay in power. And an unjust war, a war of aggression by the US against a tiny, hopelessly outclassed enemy, is a tough sell.

Perhaps if the invading forces hadn’t killed over one million Iraqis, the claim of liberation would be more widely believed? Perhaps if they had secured public order and safety before the oil wells, the accusations of a crusade for oil would have been more widely dis-believed?

I mean, put yourself in the average Iraqi’s position. When Hussein was in power, you lived under the boot of a violent, ruthless killer, installed and supported by the US and UK. Oh, here comes the US and UK – they’ve changed their minds, he’s a baddie now! Yaaay, we’re going to be liberated! Hold on – they’ve killed 1.2 million of us, used chemical weapons in Falluja (something they criticised Hussein for) and the country is in absolute chaos. Oh, and they’ve disappeared and tortured scores of innocent civilians too.

Not much of a liberation, is it?

All of which begs the question…

When will the UK withdraw its support for Bush’s murder spree?