“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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