“I’m On My Way To Save Your Rock N’ Roll”

Hey friends!

Last Friday night I was at Gröna Lund, where the Backyard Babies performed in one of Gröna’s final shows for this summer. I have seen the Backyard Babies for the first time a few months back on this same tour at Circus here in Stockholm, and have a full article on their music. Here is a link in case you want to check it out.🙂

https://theurbanside.com/?s=backyard+babies

A few moments below, that were captured on my camera from this Backyard Babies performance. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Have a great Sunday night/ day my friends, and an even greater week with lots of music!

 

Xxx,

Irene

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“Never made it as a Wiseman”

Hey dear friends! 

Last night I had the pleasure to be in the Nickelback show, here in Stockholm in Ericsson Globe. As you may have noticed, last year Nickelback had to cancel their whole Euro tour due to the fact that Chad Kroeger had to go through a throat surgery. Last night they were in town since they owed it to us from last fall. 

Around three in the evening yesterday, I got an email from Live Nation that I got accepted to shoot in their show as well. In the mail it was written though that us photographers are going to have to shoot from the mixer booth which in case you do not know is placed right in the middle of the arena, from the audiences point of view.  Also that we are allowed to shoot only for the first couple of songs, not the three ones as we normally do in any other show. This made me think that there is a serious chance that Nickelback do not like photographers around while they perform. I was perfectly fine by it even though it turned out to be extremely difficult to take a good shot from such a long distance. I felt like I had to be an alchemist and do wonders with my little camera. 

As the first couple of songs were over, I had to leave from the press exit and go back in again from the main entrance so that I can scan my ticket and take my seat in the arena, where I can have a better view. By that time, the band had already played their fourth or fifth song, and I just gotten there to enjoy the rest of the show. The view that I had made me see a little better and made me notice that their stage was not actually very big, at least big enough to fit an arena’s performance. It was big enough to fit the four of them, and two small pits that led to the audience so that they can walk along anytime they felt like it. 

I also noticed about half an hour after the start that Chad’s voice turns out to be a bit different than the recorded versions. It felt at some point that he was really trying to make his voice come out of his throat, kind of like it didn’t come out naturally. As time was over nine thirty, Chad reached out the microphone once again, and this time, he showed an extreme lust to drink alcohol, saying “Is it time to drink yet? Is it time to drink yet?” . After that a guy came up on stage and kept coming every ten minutes, sharing drinks to the band members and each time he did, Chad was ecstatically screaming “Alcohol, yeah booze, yeah! Damn it tastes so good, bring me more please!” . Even if you do drink, as so many bands do, why do you have to make it seem so shallow and needy? To be really honest, I didn’t like his attitude towards this. 

After that, another thing caught my restless attention. Every time a song ended, there was these very big pauses in between, with Chad talking about every little thing that crossed his mind. Like “Damn it’s been two shows without alcohol, that’s how long I can last without it.” Or “Sweden, Sweden come party with me. Now I am going to stand right behind the drummer, so I will be staring at his ass in case you are wondering. I am just saying..” Or “I am really persuasive as a person, I’m like the Devil, I can convince you to do anything, and then I end up in court, come party with me, it’s not like you gotta go to work tomorrow!” And many more sayings, while he cursed extremely much. It felt a little bit as if he was trying to show this “Rockstar” attitude like he doesn’t have class, and he curses a lot and he drinks extremely much as well. To be very honest as I always try to be, I found his behavior not professional on so many levels. He seemed like he was completely wasted. 

Regarding the rest of the band, I believe that this band’s talent is hidden in their drummer, Daniel Patrick Adair. He sounded the best that he could be throughout the whole night. And then also, Ryan Peake who is their rhythm guitar player, was the only one who actually said “We know we should have been here last year and we are sorry for it, so we really appreciate you guys showing up tonight.” A few words to show his gratitude to the people who paid at least 600kr to see them, words that were never spoken by the lead vocalist. 

The last thing that caught my attention last night was the fact that Globe’s capacity is 16.000 people and yesterday the tickets that were sold were not more that 6.000 . Which makes me think, are Nickelback not who they used to be once upon a time? Last night was the first time that I ever saw them performing live. And it is needless to say that I remember their songs playing over and over on MTV since I was thirteen. The first song that I ever heard of them was “Someday” and I used to fight with my sister every time it played because we couldn’t figure out who is the one that gets killed on the video, is it the boy or the girl? And as the years got by and I always had their songs on my mp3 player, songs like “Feelin’ way too damn good” , “Figure you out” , “Burn it to the ground” , “Rockstar” , I always had the impression in my head based mostly to what I read and saw, that they are perfectionists as a band. And this is exactly how their albums sound like. But what happened last night? I had been waiting to see them since this summer but Chad’s attitude got me very disappointed. Is it only me that believes in the power of a rockshow ? I know that at some point and especially when it is a long tour, the show itself would tend to be a bit of a routine, to its core. But then? Is this how some artists see it? Because if it’s not, what was that about last night? I do believe that music can change somebody’s life in so many ways, but if you want to promote this shallow, rockstar wanna-be, greedy and needy attitude, that’s when you lose the game. The competition is way too big these days and the standards are getting higher and higher, so do you want to be just another American band or do you want to actually mean something to somebody? The decision is all yours. 

In general it was a good show and I enjoyed listening to all of the songs I grew up to. I just wish that I didn’t have this feeling in me. I tried to ignore it through the show, but Chad’s behavior provoked it way too much. And at the end of the day, it is a really bad feeling looking up to somebody for such a long time, and when you finally get the chance to see them, they turn out to be a disappointment it your eyes. 

And one more thing to sum up this Nickelback article, from my personal experience, I believe that European bands are much more kind and appreciative than any american band I have seen all these years. 

This is what I got with my camera from last night’s Nickelback performance in Ericsson Globe, Stockholm/ Sweden, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did! 

Have a great day / night my friends with lots of music and positivity! 

Xxx, 

Irene 

P.S. If you ever want to check out my video updates from the different shows, here’s a link to my Instagram page! :D https://www.instagram.com/irenepavlidi/

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A Mando Diao Livelihood

Hey dear music friends! 

Last Friday, a band that I happen to be very familiar with performed here in Stockholm, in Gröna Lund. You might also have heard of them, since I have been writing articles about their music ever since I started this blog. This band is called Mando Diao. 

Now allow me at this point to explain a couple of things related to me and Mando Diao, because I believe that the term “familiar with” underestimates the whole situation. 

When I was fifteen years old, meaning almost eleven years ago, I got in touch with Mando Diao’s music for the very first time. Needless to say that I endlessly admired their unique style and edge of sound. They seemed like no band I had heard before and their music followed me in everything I did as a teenager. School, work, obligations.

As the years got by and it was time for me to make up my mind about what I want to do in my life, it came to me completely natural and without the slightest shaft of doubt that I want to follow the music path in a country that I was completely unfamiliar with. I had never visited Sweden, didn’t know what it looked like and knew nobody here. I still remember a lot of my friends asking me how I could be so determined and not second-guessing my decision that I wanted to leave this place and move to Sweden. My answer to them was and always is with no fear “As long as there is music, I am going to be fine.” 

The truth was though that in real life, moving away is never an easy task. And just like in my home country, here as well people kept asking me especially the first couple of years, “How can you be so positive and be in love with this country, when you have no clue about it? When you were not born here, when your background is the exact opposite of this way of life in Scandinavia.” And my answer was the same once again. 

The truth was though that I never let the obstacles and the problems of an immigrant life stand in my way, but secretly put music always first as my fragile weapon throughout the years of my life here. It would be needless to say that the band that I admired the most and probably one of the very few reasons that I decided to move here was Mando Diao. I wanted to live, breathe and understand the way that their music is constructed, here. Their influences here, this way of life, this attitude, this point of view. Because no matter what I might have thought of felt back in the days, it cannot compare to when you actually live in the mother country where this music is created.

 When I lived in Greece, I tried to be as close to their music as I possibly could, as I was member in their greek fanclub and was able to see them once live there and for the very first time, in Thessaloniki in December 2009, on their Give me Fire tour. Along with that, I tried to keep up with all their news and their promotional ways of marketing their music through their website, such as the different challenges and competitions that you could be a part of and gain points, points that would reward you with golden and platinum citizen passports in the Mando Diao community. And I did it all. Challenges, promotion, communicating with several other fanbases, anything needed to be feeling close to their art, while on the other side of the world. 

In 2011, when I moved to Sweden, I didn’t lose any time and followed their music journey here. Now this was probably a nodal point in their carriers because they decided to take a step back in 2012, and try something new, with a group of artists, musicians, producers, graffiti artists and many more creative nature spirits called Caligola. I was there when Caligola performed in Stockholm, in each and every performance of theirs, in clubs, in record stores, in Gröna lund, simply to show my support for their music. 

The year that followed, Mando decided that they wanted to be Mando again and released a record that went multi times platinum, a cultural legacy for the Swedish nation, called Infruset. Infruset is a record made by the poems of the Swedish poet and writer Gustaf Fröding and the music of Mando Diao. Needless to mention again, that I attended this tour more than three times, in Skansen, in Stockholm’s culture festival and in their hometown in Borlänge Sweden. 

In 2014 and with the rest of Europe hanging over Mando Diao’s future record release internationally, (the last one before it was in 2009 with their album Give me Fire), Mando released a record for their wider audience called “Aelita.” Now Aelita record turned out to be extremely controversial for almost all of their international Fanbase. New songs, made in a way that no Mando Diao record was made before.  Songs filed up with the synthesizers, completely transformed to the superficial computer sound, almost impossible to understand or relate to. Their stage performance changed completely as well. The man (Gustaf Norén) that used to say he dresses in black simply because he wants the music to drag the attention not the clothes or the outside look in a band, now dresses up with extravaganza clothes, bathroom towels, tennis hats and a lot of times, just his underwear on stage. People calling them a big flop, fans that had supported them for so long not having faith in them anymore and getting completely confused both by their music and their looks.  Mando Diao family members attacking fans on Mando’s official fan page on Facebook saying “If you want the same sound over and over go listen to a band like The Hives.” 

I personally turned out to be too confused as well. As I had already started working with blogging and wanting to do more with Mando Diao than just attend their show from the audience’s point of view, I soon found out that Mando Diao performed at least here in Stockholm in some sort of a secrecy, like the fact for instance that you had to take part in competitions to win tickets, otherwise tickets were not available for general sale, or the fact that Mando performed for very few in radio stations or Volvo presentations, or having Dj set sessions in clubs and bars that nobody ever mentioned anything about. Now when I applied for photo access in November 2014 in their performance in Stockholm Annexet as a part of their Aelita tour, I was rejected. I guess it must be because my blog and work in Mando diao’s management team might not be as fancy as in Volvo or NRJ radio or SVT. Anyhow, I did not have the chance to see and shoot  them in their Aelita tour, only from Youtube videos and from what other people said about their performances. 

At this point, I did though notice something that got me more disappointed that any press rejection; Björn Dixgård – The second founding member of Borlänge’s most successful band; At this very point in the Aelita era, he seemed sad. He seemed to me that like he stood in the background and didn’t let his talent show with all this foolishness that was going around. He seemed like he had to tolerate all of this. As if he had to go through with it like he didn’t want to but didn’t have a choice either. Like something was going on that was more than just artistic arguments. 

The news didn’t take too long to be revealed and then somewhere in 2015 Gustaf Norén makes a huge statement that he leaves what he once created himself, the band Mando Diao. The news tore me apart. Made me completely unable to think about anything Mando related, when Mando is not Mando anymore without Gustaf. This is when I wrote an article called “Mando without Diao”, one that still gets a lot of traffic from several countries all around the world. 

From what I could understand, I believe that their paths split because the artistic arguments were too big to handle. Like one band member was living in the East, and one of them in the West. At that point I didn’t know which one lives where artistically, but I did have my suspicions. And these suspicions came true last Friday night. 

Mando Diao have not released a new record yet, but what they did do was reform. They did get a new lead guitar player that stands in the place of where Gustaf once was. With Björn Dixgård in the vocals and rhythm guitar, C.J. in the bass, Daniel Haglund on the keyboard and Patrik Heinkipieti on the drums. 

A couple of days ago, I did have the pleasure to see one of the new reformed band’s performances. I did apply for photo access but once again didn’t get any because hey! big news I am not the Aftonbladet nor the expressen newspaper and since I already mentioned it, obviously a livelihood of Mando Diao true and pure support means nothing to the Mando Diao management team. Last days’ rejection probably makes it four years in the row of me trying to create a decent and professional piece on Mando Diao’s music. I wasn’t informed about any photo/ press access of this show, not from any Gröna lund associates nor any Mando Diao workers either. 

Anyhow once again, at least I would be able to watch the show and have a clear opinion about the new Mando Diao. Around eight in the evening and with an audience filled up with all sorts of ages, from sixteen year olds to eighty year olds, Mando Diao were about to hit the stage. No extravaganza stage equipment this time except a silver curtain and the band’s name in silver glitter letters in the background. I was too curious to see what they are going to sound like. What they are going to look like. What songs they are going to say. Is this new kid good enough to fill Gustaf’s shoes or is he going to turn the band into another more new direction? And the rest of the members, do they still have their original sound or did they turn into new horizons as well? Questions over questions, trying to supplement my worry over a band that I can easily say I dedicated my heart and soul to. 

A couple of minutes after eight and with this Gröna Lund reference guy saying “Ladies and gentlemen they are back!” (was it really so..?) , Björn Dixgård jumps on stage and along with him the new guitar guy ( forgive me I don’t know his name nor could I find it) , and then familiar faces, C. J, Patrik and Daniel. 

“Yellow burning thing, it’s a dirty sin I know, I’m on the pavement of my own mind it’s silly…”

Yes. A song from a very old era to open their last performance for this summer. Björn Dixgård; A passionate enthusiast whose voice surrounds my very teenage existence. A true, rock n’ roll, deep, untamed voice, fearless and unique. A real professional that turned out to be the one who successfully saved the band from this last couple of years’ unending storm. A different kind of an alchemist. 

And then the new guy who in my opinion fits the band like a glove. Creative, full of spirit, putting his own touch into the songs’ solo guitar parts. I never though that I could say this and didnt really know what to expect from this performance, but I didn’t miss Gustaf for a second. It seemed like he was never there in the first place. This new kid seemed such a good fit, that at some certain parts he looked like he almost moved and acted like Gustaf Norén. And I am saying this with a best intentions. 

The band played good old Mando songs. “The band” , “Mr. Moon “ , “You got nothing on me”, “Never seen the light of day” , with an audience jumping up and down, but oh wait a second; there was something funny that I noticed; Not many people knew about the very old Mando songs. Maybe a lot of them got familiar with their music since their smash hit “Dance with somebody” or the older ones heard of them when they created the national legacy with Gustaf Fröding’s poems. Anyhow, the thing that screamed and spoke volumes last Friday was this; That Mando Diao are indeed back. They are here, and this is their sound. I heard Gustaf Norén once replying to people who had doubts about their Aelita era, saying “Mando Diao have no sound”. Well I got news for you dear Gustaf and try not to act surprised. Mando diao do have a sound. And it is the sound that I experienced a couple of days back in Gröna. Maybe you should just accept that. 

And last but not least, the show could not close with a more touching final. As there was a couple of songs left, after the encore, I didn’t notice it visually but on the sound. The drum sound turned out to be louder and more intense. As if it got doubled in a way. I turned my head into the other side of the scene and there it was, the ear doesn’t lie. Sam. It was Sam. Good old, kind Sam. And Patrik too. They both played drums on the last couple of songs. I have never seen a two-drummers performance live before. It was not only unique but also surreal in a way that maybe only I can understand. And not to forget, Mats was there too. Good old Mats that I saw for the first time in 2009. Just like not a day had passed by. What can I say more, except that this was a true example of not to give up on the things and the people that you love. Things don’t always turn out the way we want them to. Not work, not music, not life. But we shouldn’t give up. I try to say that to myself so many times during the day. I almost gave up on Mando during their Aelita era, and when Gustaf decided to leave. And I am sorry I did so. I only did it because I couldn’t understand any of it. But I did secretly have a hope within me that a day will come and Mando will be Mando again. One of the very few reasons I chose to make Sweden my home for now. :) 

And one last thing before I reveal a couple of Mando photos during the years; hey dear managers, associates, you that make the important money-wise decisions and rule a band’s life in the most despicable way. Take all of this livelihood article and shovel it straight up your ass. Maybe then you’ll get it. Because no matter what you do, and no matter how greedy you might be, at the end of the day you cannot kill this spirit. And you cannot kill good music. Good music gets noticed. Always has been and always will be. 

Now to close up this very personal article, I decided to share some of my Mando Diao personal belongings that I have kept safe for more than ten years, and tag them so that you can understand Mando Diao through my eyes all of this time. 

Have a great new week my friends with lots of music and positivity! 

Xxx, 

Irene 

Mando Diao in Greece, December 2009

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Mando Diao with Caligola at Bengans Record Store in Stockholm – March 2012

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With Caligola in Club Sommar – Summer 2012 (Photo taken by Sommar’s fanpage on Facebook)

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With Caligola in Gröna Lund – August 2012

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June 2013

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July 2013 in Skansen-Stockholm

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Stockholm Culture Festival August 2013

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In Borlänge August 2013

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Last Friday night in Gröna Lund- Stockholm

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“Memory, your lamplight is burning holes.”

Hey dear music friends! Sunday today, for a lot of people the seventh day of the week, the day when you are supposed to relax and take it easy. I wish that this could be how it goes for me. Or maybe not. There is no rest for the wicked, a friend of mine always mentions. 

As most of the time I am fighting to feed the ruthless music hunger of mine with new material, and as summer tends to be lonely sometimes, I often visit the local record store downtown, and I still buy records and vinyls, a habit that has been under my skin since I can remember myself. I know that most people tend to buy their music online nowadays, probably with Spotify sessions or incredibly cheap prices over a song on iTunes. But at the end of the day I have never settled down with a lot of today’s music- technology demands, and I still buy physical records. I do not agree with buying a song cheaper than you buy a cup of take-away coffee from the coffee store in your neighborhood. I want to believe that keeping this habit of mine alive even in an age when most young people do not or have never learnt what a physical record might be, is a way that I can show my gratitude to the music artistry.  

Yesterday evening I took a ride downtown. The city was really crowded and the sun was shinning extremely much. It was probably one of the hottest days within the year. As some of you might have noticed, I wanted to connect the afterglow of my last live music experience with my ride downtown last night, so I decided to spend my money on a band that I only have seen live once before. The band is called Volbeat and it was one of the supporting acts that were with Black Sabbath and Monsters of Rock a couple of weeks back here in Stockholm, at Friends arena. 

The main question that has been rolling in my head since I saw them live, was “How can you tell when you really like a band?” Is it something on the way they play music that differs them from all the other bands that you have already been listening to? Is it something about they way they perform live? Is it something in their lyrics that speaks to you in a way that no other music does? Or maybe in the way they handle themselves up on the stage? Maybe it might be because of their looks? And you are hoping that they may notice you amongst the endless crowd? Blink an eye or point at you at the end of the song? Or in the main chorus? Is it because their music is a part of your every day routine, and makes your reality a little more pleasant and bearable? 

How can you tell when you really love a band and you choose to support their work? A couple of questions that constantly roll in the never resting mind of mine, and hopefully in every mind of an always-seeking music lover. 

To start off and relate all the above thoughts with a band like Volbeat, let me start by being really honest, as I think that this is the most valuable quality of this blog; It would not be fair from my side to say that I have been supporting their music since day one, simply because I had not heard of them. It may sound crazy I know. But even when the time came, and I did find out from a classmate of mine that there is a band from Denmark, and they are called Volbeat, it still hadn’t clicked inside of me. So how can you really tell that somebody’s work can be really something that speaks to you in a way that nothing else does? 

Here is how it works for me; Most of the time, the music finds me, instead of me seeking out music everywhere. Because what I actually think is that there really are ways for the music to find you, for the answers to find you, instead of you wrapping your head around something that might not represent you. Most of the time, the answer is already there. What you need to do, is listen close. And you will find it. 

So one day, on my way to work, I let a new music playlist on Spotify play along and see if there is something that would “click” in me. There was this song called “For evigt” by a band called Volbeat. I already knew the band name. But did I really know their music? No. So I let the song play. A touch of the Scandinavian culture (since the main chorus and the song’s name are Danish) kicked right through my ears and made it more interesting than the rest of the songs that Spotify tried to promote. Danish. I can speak and understand Swedish, but not Danish. It feels kind of similar but not really. But maybe that was the whole point. You hate some songs because you don’t understand what they are talking about, and you absolutely adore some other ones, completely ignoring the fact that you don’t understand any of the words that are said. That is the time when music speaks to you more than any other level. That is a moment of realness and clarity; 

“For evigt, måske for evigt, skal vi sammen, samme vej. 

Og når i morgen får øjne, og natten hviler sig

Skal vi for evigt måske samme vej”. 

I let the song play, then I pressed play again, and then once more, as I was sitting in the car and could hear only the sound of the wind, in a very warm June evening. And then there was something. Something after the second chorus and before the bridge of the song. Something about the sound of the acoustic guitar, and the words that came after it. Something that seemed so close to me, something right there, something very true. And then I heard the click. Right there. A pure moment of happiness, just like those moments when you do not really know what it actually is that made you happy, you only know this feeling. This feeling that sometimes you are so desperately seeking to find, and some other times that it comes so naturally and reaches out to you. That’s when I knew that music finds me. 

A couple of weeks later, I combined this feeling with the anticipation that seemed to take over when the days came closer for us to be there at The monsters of Rock festival. But then it hit me; What if they are not that good live? What if Micheal Poulsen is not as good vocalist as he is on the recorded versions? I cannot hide the fact that I have been to a lot of shows where my expectations regarding the artistic performances were really high, and all I returned home with was well provoked disappointment. I prayed that the day when I would see Volbeat live for the first time, would not turn out to be one of these days.

 Right after the Rival Sons and before Sabbath, the curtain fell down once more and Volbeat filled up the stage. Starting off with songs from their latest record “Seal the deal & let’s boogie”, as I was standing really far from the stage and could only see them through the big screen. A moment that was both unreal but at the same time perfectly real. His voice was not only exactly like the recorded versions but maybe even better. Their set was longer than probably any other sets that I have seen in a rock band. Every tune that was played there that day was like glitter stardust among an endless crowd that felt so free as an ambitious eagle in the greatest heights of the sky. A series of moments surrounded by pure artistry and nothing more. And that was the real sound; The sound that sometimes you are trying so hard to hear, but you really can’t , and some other ones it is right there in front of you. The sound of your spirit being lifted among all the crowd, among the stage, among the music itself. All you can do at that moment, is open your arms and embrace it with the most gracious welcome that you hide in your heart. And then you will know. :) 

When their performance was over, and a couple of minutes before Sabbath hit the stage, I knew that once they come back, they are absolutely worth my dedication, my time, and my money. True artistry always shines through and against all the washed up and mainstream promotions that the different commercial ways are trying to pull you into these days. But once you are able to hear, see and tell the difference, you will know. And you will feel sure about a band like Volbeat. 

Micheal Poulsen seemed so true, so real, so down to earth performer as he kept thanking the crowd at the end of each and every song. To me, as a humble human being towards another human being, this action of his tells me that he indeed felt grateful for all the people down at the public that day. It also shows that he is most likely one of the artists that had to work hard for each and every step towards their wanted carrier and didn’t take none of us for granted that day. Most of the time in my opinion, these two rare qualities combined with the natural music talent are what make someone a true entertainer. 

All of this connected with my ride downtown the other day, I felt like I wanted to buy their album on a physical record except from listening to it on Spotify. I actually bought it on a vinyl version to make myself feel more “sophisticated” and “music-dramatic.” I do not belong to the vinyl generation, I do not own a vinyl player and I barely know people who do. I am a CD child that is born in the 90’s. But you might have already understood as this posts reaches out to its end, I will do anything in my power as a music supporter and consumer to show my appreciation to bands like Volbeat. 

Sight- sound- smell- taste and touch, our five basic senses and each time I discover a new band, I make sure that all my senses are active to their fullest. I want to see and understand the artwork hidden behind the record. I want to listen to the actual record, and let the music taste do the rest. I want to smell the freshly new print of the creative and promising artwork and I want to be able to touch the record, feel its realness and authenticity in my hands. 

I absolutely believe that each and every one of us has the power to bring to light every creative soul/ band that has the ability and talent to shine in this world. And I also believe that it is our duty and obligation as human beings to support the seriously talented people that live among us so that they can uplift and thrive great messages through their art for the whole world to see. 

As this Swedish summer evening is leading towards its end, all I can add to this perfect weekend experience of mine would be for you to take a walk to your local store next time you are downtown. Whether you are feeling lonely or not, frustrated or not, seeking for something more, something new or not, let the music speak to you. Let it come to you naturally, and you will see your whole future flashing right in front of you. And it will be beautiful. I can guarantee you that. 

“We are the birth

We are the end

We are the souls

We have a name

We are the rising and fallen ones

We are the spirit forever more” . 

Have a great Sunday my friends, with lots of music and positivity, and an even greater new week! :) 

Xxx,

Irene 

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Monsters Of Rock

Hey dear friends! Last night Monsters Of Rock took place here in Solna, Sweden, at Friends Arena. With Black Sabbath as the main act, and three opening ones, starting with the Swedish band Bombus, continuing with the Rival Sons, then Volbeat and finally the mighty Sabbath, in their last show ever in Sweden, on the 9th of July 2016.

I have been trying for more than three months to get photo access to this festival, and shoot only the Rival Sons, because I tend to know how hard it can be for bloggers and photographers to get access to this kind of events in case you want to shoot such big bands like Sabbath.

Unfortunately my request was turned down, even if I wanted to shoot only one band from the first three. And as a consequence to that, I want to apologize for the quality of the photographs. They are really dim, and bad quality, because we were standing far from the stage and they were taken with i Phone 6s. But I decided to upload a few anyway to let you have a taste of what went down at the last show of the biggest metal band, here in Stockholm.

Bombus

Starting off with Bombus a few minutes after five in the evening yesterday, while they took off a scene in a not-completely-full yet arena. Bombus is a hard rock Swedish band, that released their last record back in Ferbuary 2016. Now, maybe this was a bit intended but maybe not, their sound reminded me a lot of The Foo Fighters. I could let that one go, but then when I watched their looks, they completely reminded me of Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters. I find a lot of resemblance in their vocals, and their playing. If you have been a Foo Fighters supporter like myself, you definitely know what I am talking about. I have never seen them perform live nor I knew about their work. I checked out recently because as many of you might already know, I research a lot, explore a lot and seek a lot before I finally choose to write about any band in this blog.

Here is a taste of Bombus, and like I said before, excuse me for the bad quality.

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Rival Sons

Going on with the Rival Sons, and as you may already know, they are a band that I have been writing for, for almost two years now. This is exactly why I wanted to get at least photo access to shoot them playing for the first three songs, but sadly was not able to do so. I am not really sure that I know how things work with the bands or the managers approving your photo access to their show, if it depends on them or on anybody else, but the funny thing is that a little while before they hit the stage, we found out that backstage and photo access was indeed given to more than one Swedish photographers to shoot both backstage, on stage and in front of the scene. I am not going to hide my feelings over this and will let you know that I got extremely sad when I found out about it. Oddly enough the Sons are the reason why we chose to attend Monsters of Rock last night, and they were the main and only reason why we wanted to work there yesterday. Just like we did for the past two years in their performances in Sweden. I have been trying to find a reason, a cause, why my request was turned down, by I don’t even really know who, but unfortunately I have not found any so that I can share it with you. The only thing that can roll in my head is that my work and my blog are completely freelanced and independent, meaning that I do not have any big record labels standing behind me to cover my name or my back, nor any big newspapers, other music journalists or promoting companies. All the work, the texts, the articles, the photographs and the editing of the pictures is done by me and only. I sometimes take advice from the people that follow me in the shows, to hear their opinion about the different band performances, but at the end of the day everything that is posted on this blog is created and shared by me. Simply because I dedicate my time, my money and my energy to the thing that I love most in life and have been doing so for more than four years now.

You know, a lot of times I have attended rock shows and was willing to see the anticipation and the excitement on people’s faces just like it was and still is written in my own, to feel like you are able to breathe and let yourself be free again, feel that liberation running through your blood and in your veins as soon as some guitar riffs like Scott Holiday’s fill in the room. But sometimes, all I see around me is people who are already drunk, don’t really know the band (any band that is about to perform), and are there just to “have fun” and “let loose”. I have never been in a show just “to have fun”. And last night when the Sons hit the stage, and the sound of Scott’s guitar almost blew my brain out, was a moment when I not almost cried but remembered in my head like a flashing light why I am here, what I am trying to do here, with music, with management, with my work, with everything that I want to be one day. Now if this is something that a lot of music related people such as managers, promoters, deal makers or whatever cannot understand or respect and feel free to turn down any request that is made by hard work and dedication, then I feel really bad for them. Because I can most certainly say that they once were really young, really rebellious and really youthful just like me, but I am sure that somebody believed in them and gave them their so-wanted-chance to work and be near live music. A request and chance that most of the time is impossible to get.

I can now understand after all these years and also respect that things in a show are also about making business, which means that the approach and the expectations from the business music side are more practical, realistic and cynical, but I also believe and know that if most of these people wouldn’t be burning for music just like I am, they wouldn’t be there in the first place. 

The Son’s set started off with “Electric Man”, and went on with slightly little differences compared with last year, as this time on the current tour, they include three songs from their new record, “Hollow Bones”, “Tied Up” and “Fade out”.

“Hollow Bones” is the also the name of their latest record that was released on the 10th of June 2016.

The reason why I really wanted the chance to shoot the Sons, is because I find their music really different than anything you might see or hear out there. The words that in my opinion describe it the most are authenticity and realness. A lot of people might tell you or you might read it somewhere “This is rock and roll” or “That is rock and roll” but truth be told, regarding my personal perspective, I didn’t really know what Rock n’ Roll is in our time, until I listened to the Rival Sons. Since then, I believe that I have tasted a bit of what classic, pure, beautiful, raw Rock n’ Roll really is. This is exactly why I choose to write and express my opinion on their work and why I have not missed any of their performances in Sweden since 2014.

I truly hope and wish for them to be back here soon so that I can hopefully get appropriate access and shoot like I did for the past couple of years. As this blog is mainly dedicated to my favorite artists/bands and with the Sons being one of them, I would gladly dedicate any new professionally made posts here in the future.

Here is a link of their performance last year in Gothenburg, Sweden, in case you want to find out more about them and check out professional quality photos.

Rival Sons – Trädgårn Gothenburg 2015.08.13

And also a couple of pictures from their performance last night, taken with i Phone 6s.

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Volbeat

The last opening act for Monsters Of Rock and Black Sabbath in Stockholm, were Volbeat. Now Volbeat is a band that I have never seen live before, yet they somehow were always there in my playlists since I moved to Sweden. I am now able to say that in case you wonder whether you want to see them live or not, take my advice and buy a ticket because they are absolutely worth it.

Their set was longer than all of the other opening acts, meaning about one and a half hour long making every minute worth the show. Their lead singer Micheal Poulsen is an amazing vocalist, as he sat there and sang non stop for more than one hour, making it completely worth it for us not to be able to take our eyes off from the stage. His voice is the kind of voice that will make you want to turn the radio louder and want to keep the band’s name in mind and save it on your Spotify playlist. Playing mostly somewhere between hard rock and alternative metal, Volbeat is a band that I will definitely check out again. Luckily enough they will be back in town again, on the 22th of October, in Ericsson Globe and I will try my best to be there.

Here is a couple of pictures from Volbeat last night, where you can mostly see the band playing through the big screen.

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Black Sabbath

The last and main act on this big day last night was the mighty Sabbath. Now Black Sabbath is a band that I feel very uncomfortable writing about, simply because I feel too young, too inexperienced and too amateur as a music blogger to review a name and performance such as theirs. Honestly, they are not a band of my generation, and I am not really sure if they even were of my mom’s one. So if they are a band of your own generation and you have seen them live in the 70s, 80s or 90s, feel free to share your opinion on the comment section below. I am really looking forward to read anything that you might have to say.

Here is a couple of pictures where you can see Sabbath playing on the big screen.

I hope that you enjoy reading this review about Monsters of Rock with Bombus, Rival Sons, Volbeat and Black Sabbath, as much as I enjoyed writing it. And if you choose to share it, I thank you for it.🙂

Have a great beginning of the week dear friends, with lots of music and positivity!

Xxx,

Irene

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