Gigs

The Soft Moon bring dark wave to Stockholm

...the stage atmosphere was dark and smokey, backlit with bursts of strobe and all washed with red and blue light.

Every once in a while another band appears in the darkwave scene. They always have a strong grounding in the sound that makes darkawave what it is but often with a twist of innovation. The Soft Moon is one of those bands.

Playing for the first time in Stockholm since 2013 The Soft Moon brings energetic mesmerizing rhythms drenched in layers of synth texture, chorus laced bass, effects driven guitar and haunting vocals. As is usual for almost all darkwave gigs, the stage atmosphere was dark and smokey, backlit with bursts of strobe and all washed with red and blue light. Coupled with front man and composer Luis Vasquez's energetic movements, reminiscent of a specter darting back and forth around the stage, this really was one of those quintessential darkwave gigs. Although the music is based heavily on electronic instrumentation and sounds, don't be fooled into thinking that it's all sequenced. Vasquez works hard throwing out vocals, guitar, synth and percussion throughout the show backed by a solid drummer and bass player. If it was not enough to have The Soft Moon we were lucky enough to have the fantastic local INVSN as the supporting act. The combination of the two bands brought a fantastic mix of energy and shadowy goodness.

If you missed this gig, I can only say that you really missed out. Hopefully The Soft Moon will be back in the near future to grace us with more of their fantastic take on dark wave.

Written by William Riever, 2015-09-19


Post Christmas escape at the Underground x-mas party

For those of us that had either had enough of the Christmas spirit, the family or both, Debaser at The Strand offered up a welcome boozy helping of indie, punk and goth.

For those of us that had either had enough of the Christmas spirit, the family or both, Debaser at The Strand offered up a welcome boozy helping of indie, punk and goth. The Underground x-mas party brought together Tänk på Döden, Slice me nice, Klubb död and Panda 2.0. While for the majority of the night the DJs did what DJs do, kept people entertained and moving on the dance floor. At around 11pm we were treated to two great contrasting but well suited Swedish bands. Malmö's Ra and Stockholm's Vulkano.

Ra thumped out rhythmic and driven new wave followed by Vulkano who upped the tempo with energetic indie punk. While both bands take strong influence from the 80s and early 90s British alternative music movement, Ra has a strong leaning towards the new wave sound. They're reminiscent of bands such as Joy Division, Bauhaus and early Smiths. Contrasting this, Vulkano draw far more influence from the punk angle of the movement calling on sounds of bands such as Siouxsie And The Banshees but with a twist of Swedish indie pop to sweeten the deal.

It's quite exciting see a couple more contemporary bands embracing the old school indie, punk and new wave sounds. Here's hoping to see these bands gigging regularly and encouraging others out of the wood work and onto the stage.

Written by William Riever, 2014-12-27


The Swans - Slakthuset, Stockholm

As usual, the Swans were epically loud literally pealing the paint from the ceiling causing it to fall like crunchy snowflakes onto the audience.

Once again the Swans have come to Stockholm, this time with supporting artist Deathprod providing a great set of ambient noise.

As usual, the Swans were epically loud literally pealing the paint from the ceiling causing it to fall like crunchy snowflakes onto the audience. The set was a little less aggressive than their previous visit, drawing heavily from their latest release To Be Kind. This time around there seemed to be a little more tension in the music, possibly due to Michael Gira losing a bag of personal items while in Utecht, Holland a few day prior. Even with this distraction the band still performed with the wonderful power and splendour you'd expect creating a hypnotically rhythmic, spontaneous and beautiful experience.

If you've never heard of the Swans or only ever heard their recorded material, I can say without doubt that it's an experience that you should not pass up. The Swans create a mesmerizing atmosphere that leaves you feeling high without the need to resort to the easy fix of chemicals. What can I say, we're lucky to have such a fantastic band still putting out this caliber of music.

Written by William Riever, 2014-11-28


Generation Graveyard rock Pub Anchor

Generation Graveyard and other bands of their ilk are just what Stockholm needs

Punk death rockers Generation Graveyard trampled their way up Sweden on tour as support for The Generals paying a visit to Pub Anchor in Stockholm on Thursday.

Staying true to form they blazed up the stage with attitude and blaring Marshall stacks. The band pelted out songs from both their self titled and Lonewolves releases. This time around it'd be fair to say that the band were a little more together then their performance at the Intrepid Fox in London, although equally entertaining.

Generation Graveyard and other bands of their ilk are just what Stockholm needs. They satisfy the heavy metal and glam elements that are so prevalent here and introduce a good belch of London punk grit that is sorely missing. Nice one lads!

Written by William Riever, 2014-11-14


Cold world love in Stockholm with Beastmilk

...Beastmilk belted out a volley of uranium tipped tracks with favourites Genocidal Crush, Love In A Cold World and older tracks including Void Mother.

For the first time Beastmilk played Stockholm, Sweden supporting headline act In Solitude at Kägelbanan. Although this wasn't the tightest set Beastmilk have put on, it was certainly packed with the melodrama and energy we've come to expect from the band.

As far as the show was concerned, Beastmilk belted out a volley of uranium tipped tracks with favourites Genocidal Crush, Love In A Cold World and older tracks including Void Mother. It was a pleasure to hear the front of house pumping out a sound that was good and true to the band all with reasonably apt lighting making for dark wave sensory goodness. It was a pleasant relief to see that new guitarist Linnéa Olsson and stand in drummer Titus didn't change to the sound of band in any obviously negative way. Although Olsson added thickness to the sound it would seem that she'll have a more noticeable part to play in futures releases.

Hopefully the tour with In Solitude will be proof enough for Beastmilk to make a return to Sweden in the not too distant future. We'll be eagerly waiting!

Written by William Riever, 2014-10-05


25 years of Helmet at Debaser, Strand

Cheers and shouts were heard over the rumbling feedback bringing the band back onto stage for a cracking encore to end the show.

Icons of syncopated groove metal, Helmet, put on a mammoth 2 hour show at Stockholm’s Debaser, Strand. The occasion was billed as the 20th year anniversary but really we’re talking a quater century of grinding riffs from the band.

With various members coming and going over the years it was great to see that the current line up is impressively tight bar a few minor mishaps. Staying true to form Page Hamilton pumped out chopped up chords, solos and waves of noise adding a nice bit of chaos to the strong rhythmic base the band are renowned for. It was also nice to hear a little bit of pure jazz showing a strong part of the bands musical roots. As promised the set consisted of Betty in it’s entirety but also a lot of other greats from Helmet’s heyday covering Strap It On, In the Meantime and Aftertaste. On a personal note, I was filled with nostalgia hearing Unsung amongst a number of other great songs from In the Meantime.

As is often the case with the Stockholm audience, it took a while for them to warm up but, the love was certainly there. Cheers and shouts were heard over the rumbling feedback bringing the band back onto stage for a cracking encore to end the show. It was great to see that the whole band thoroughly enjoyed the gig, greeting and shaking hands with the enthused audience.

From a nostalgic stand point, this really was a highlight as part of a number of great gigs this year in Stockholm. With a likely return next year coinciding with an anticipated 2015 release, if you missed Helmet this time around, you really should get your arse along to see them on their return.

Written by William Riever, 2014-09-27


YOB bring thunder to Slakthuset

As was to be expected, the set was a wall of sonic epicness!

Last week Stockholmers were treated to the almighty YOB cranking out doom mayhem at the cosy Slakthuset with supporting act Pallbearer. The room was full enough to be producing sweaty condensation but with just enough space to grab a beer or two from the bar without having to rub nipples with too many people.

Pallbearer helped get the crowd warmed up with some reasonable rumbling but, for my personal taste I found that they lack a little in consistency of quality in their song composition and seemed to be having a few minor tuning issues. That being said I do think that they were the better known by the crowd and appeared to be well loved.

YOB got started without any fanfare and you could even be forgiven for not quite realising that they had got underway, rest assured that hazy illusion was to be shattered soon enough. As was to be expected, the set was a wall of sonic epicness! Finely crafted subtle somber sections sometimes slowly building into crushing crescendos and other times exploding with the impact of a brick wall out of nowhere. A good chunk of the set came from from their recently released 2014 album Clearing the Path to Ascend. Like all of YOB’s work, this is a great evolution of doom that builds on the ideas put out by stoner doom legends Black Sabbath.

If you’re not in the habit of getting out to see bands in Stockholm perhaps with the thought that there is nothing worth checking out, this is a prime example of the great bands that are attracted to various stages around this fantastic city. If you think that going out in Stockholm is prohibitive due to cost, at the super price of just 170Kr you’d have to be tighter than a cats arse not to fork out for it.

Written by William Riever, 2014-09-22


Generation Graveyard at the Intrepid Fox

A great gig with an cracking atmosphere to match and a ton of beer. What more is there to ask for on Saturday night out in London?

On Saturday night Generation Graveyard cranked out modern down tuned punk rock to a drunken rowdy London crowd in the new (recently moved for the third time) Intrepid Fox. The lighting was as dim as a grotty London ally way with the street lights out setting just the right atmosphere.

The boys put on a great show thrashing out a good mix of material from both their self titled album and recent Lonewolves EP. There was the expected drunken debauchery with bass player Phil Roadkill living up to his name jumping off stage to get stuck into the seething moshpit and spending a good part of the gig on his back in front of the bass rig. With all the shenanigans, the cramped stage and what can only be described as an eager to participate crowd, Generation Graveyard proved that they are a band that have been around the traps more than a few times.

A great gig with an cracking atmosphere to match and a ton of beer. What more is there to ask for on Saturday night out in London?

Written by William Riever, 2014-08-18


Stereo Juggernaut rock Stockholm

Not being in the slightest reserved, emblazed with tattoos, the band rocked out while keeping tight and genuinely appear to enjoy interacting with the crowd.

The UK's Stereo Juggernaut made their Swedish debut at the intimate +One club in Stockholm. If you've not heard of Stereo Juggernaut, I would describe them as an alcoholic milk shake of down tuned punk rock with a good part of gothic eyeliner and a little electronic synth and atmosphere to keep the whole thing smooth. These guys are the sort of band that would appeal to the heavier foot stomping types while being able to allow the more introverted or moshpit allergic to enjoy their music and show.

It was clear for their performance that Stereo Juggernaut are one of those bands that understand that establishing a good connection with their audience is a must to creating the right atmosphere for a great gig. Not being in the slightest reserved, emblazed with tattoos, the band rocked out while keeping tight and genuinely appear to enjoy interacting with the crowd. They even chucked in a little audience participation to get everyone feeling a part of the show.

Stereo Juggernaut are a band well worth checking out and I believe have a wide appeal because of their cleverly crafted mixture of influences and styles. What more can I say than if you're into heavier music and aren't afraid of a bit a of variety you might just fall for their gothic punk style.

Written by William Riever, 2014-04-18


Thee Silver Mt. Zion - Debaser (The Strand)

It was reminiscent of a lot of indie gigs I've seen. Bare feet and a mess of cables and pedals.

Once again Debaser (The Strand) has delivered a fantastic international act to Stockholm for free! Thee Silver Mt. Zion are a post rock/punk band that share a lot in common with God Speed You! Black Emperor. Not surprising really since Efrim Menuck, Sophie Trudeau and Thierry Amar are all members of both bands. Although there is a great deal of similarity between them, one major difference is that Efrim Menuck and Sophie Trudeau both add a good deal of vocals to the music of Thee Silver Mt. Zion. Once you start to listen to the music in detail you find that although stylistically the two bands are on a similar path there is actually quite a bit that separates them. I guess you'd best judge that for your self though.

We got down to the venue early so as not to miss the 9pm free entry cut off and found it a bit of a ghost town. Were people really going to miss such a great band? Sure enough as the performance grew imminent, the room filled with people. The front of house pumped out the usual clear and balanced sound that makes gigs at Debaser a pleasure. As the set progressed the sound got thicker and dirtier, a bit as though you were wading further out into a glorious thick swamp of sound. The set mainly consisted of songs from their very recent Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything album. As you'd expect from such experienced and talented musicians, the performance was great. It was reminiscent of a lot of indie gigs I've seen. Bare feet and a mess of cables and pedals. It was really cool to see a band perform with a good amount of on stage lighting so you can clearly see what's happening. I guess on a practical level it helps the band see what they're doing and gives them a little less to be distracted by.

Thee Silver Mt. Zion is a band not to be missed for people that feel the tug of the post rock/punk movement. Don't be fooled into thinking that you'll be seeing a variation of God Speed You! Black Emperor. Thee Silver Mt. Zion really are their own beast and bring more fantastic music to this scene.

Written by William Riever, 2014-03-10


Chelsea Wolfe

Although it was subtle, it was certainly present and put a happy grin on my face.

I did not know much about Chelsea Wolfe before seeing her and her band perform. I had a listen to a bunch of releases to decide whether it was something that was worth checking out. I enjoyed what I heard enough to get my arse along to the gig… mind you it didn't hurt that my mate promised beer. If you are not familiar with Chelsea Wolfe I would say that if you are into Mazzy Star or Portishead or the thought of a love child of the two sounds like a good thing, she would almost surely suite your tastes.

The make up of the crowd was a little surprising to me as it was mostly of the black clad dark brooding kind. I do get how the goths would be into Chelsea Wolfe, especially after seeing her perform. I was also pleasantly surprised to find an unexpected undertone of heavy down tuned sludgy doom metal in the live sound. Although it was subtle, it was certainly present and put a happy grin on my face. The set was made up of slow but driven melancholic tunes mostly with the band but a few with Chelsea Wolfe solo, supporting herself on acoustic guitar. Although I would not say that her guitar playing is a strong point it certainly brings a simple innocences to the atmosphere.

You could say that Chelsea Wolfe borrows a lot from other greats but, that is probably true of all artists. Like all good artists, Chelsea Wolfe makes it her own. The lovely mix of electronic, synths, sample and band all delivered by a passionate and captivating Chelsea Wolfe made it well worth the effort of getting along to see. If you are into the dark acoustic electronic grind. Do yourself a favor and get along to a show.

Written by William Riever, 2013-11-06


Swans play Debaser Slussen

With the air thick with the heat and sweat of a packed venue and the condensation already starting to show itself, the amps cracked into life with immense volume.

When I heard that the Swans were playing in Stockholm I got straight onto sorting out a ticket. This certainly would be a rare opportunity, in Stockholm at least anyway. As far as I am concerned the Swans are one of the great bands of all time and to have them playing the little but cozy venue Debaser Slussen was going to be special indeed.

Now, I have to say that as I had asked around about what the Swans were like now days, I was a little reluctant to get my hopes up on high. Although I am a big fan of their music I really was hoping for some of the heavy stuff. The word around the knitting circles was that they had been playing a lot of calm folk oriented stuff. Fine but, I had my fingers crossed for a least a mixed set.

The venue was packed to the brim and the big plastic barrel of ear plugs was a sign of things to come.

With the air thick with the heat and sweat of a packed venue and the condensation already starting to show itself, the amps cracked into life with immense volume. It really was enough to put you on your arse. Good thing I had my ear plugs otherwise there would be nothing left but a bloody soggy bunch of slop between what used to be ears. It was fantastic. The shear volume meant that not only did you hear the music but you felt every bit of it too. It was face meltingly beautiful.

The rhythmic and relentless pounding music writhed on as the heat and intensity of the gig surged forward. It was really wonderful to see the band respond to Michael Gira as he conducted in what appeared kind of a spontaneous shamanic creation. If you let yourself go with it, you could really feel lost in the moment of it all. Not only that but generously the Swans gave all you could want. I felt pretty exhausted by the end. I can only imagine how the band felt.

If you've not seen the Swans perform live and are into a being part of a real experience, it is a must.

Written by William Riever, 2012-11-26