No season is as romantised in rock as the summer. It's the
time when everyone grow young, pack their bags and head into the sunset. Several
major rockevents take places during the summer. Glitzine has been visiting two
of Sweden's biggest rockmayhems - The Hultsfredfestival and The Arvikafestival.
Hultsfred is a small town in the south of Sweden. It's
a typical swedish town and easy to reach by train or bus. Hultsfred is also
the stage for Sweden's biggest annual rockevent - The Hultsfred festival. Every
year this minor town gets crammed by thousands of punks, gothic rockers, skaters,
popfreaks and even some posuers. All living close and peacefully together, sharing
the same facilities without any friction worth mentioning. Yours truly lived
next to some beautiful sisters and a couple of losers that eagerly and aggressively
tried to convince me that make-up and fun was "girls stuff". Paradoxical
they were into Backyard Babies. Slaves to conventions obviously.
The Line-up of the Hultsfredsfestival this year wasn't impressive. Highlights
were the reunited Black Sabbath, The Verve and Backyard Babies. The Verve later
cancelled their show, putting the staff in a rather unpleasant situation, to
find a replacement within 24 hours. They managed to find This Perfect Day, a
pretty good swedish powerpop band. A huge step down, no need to mention, plenty
of the visitors were disappointed.
I've never been into any music by Black Sabbath but I realize that this reunion
with the original line-up, is a big thing among fans. Everyone,
regardless of musical preferences, looked upon Black Sabbath as the saviours
of this year's Hultsfredfestival. I agree that it was cool to watch Ozzy walk
like an old lady on the stage. He's one of the most charismatic vocalists in
rock but as I'm not into their songs, I lost my patience after 15 minutes. Well,
meeting a beautiful girl might have something to do with it.
Spooky Misfits, is another "reunited" band that quite a few seemed
to enjoy watching. I liked The Misfits, their music and image is about as cool
as punk gets. I liked the Misfits but the band on stage in Hultsfred is NOT
Misfits, as least not to me. Mainmen Glen Danzig and Bobby Steele are missing
which makes this reunion seem rather pathetic and pointless. Imagine Ramones
without Joey or Johhny Ramone; Sex Pistols without Sid Vicious or Johnny Rotten,
Kiss without Paul Stanley or Gene Simmons et.c. The Audience seemed to love
it though and that is, after all, the most important thing isn't it? Anyway,
very few reunions match the flash of the "real" thing.
Two bands were of greater interest than the rest - Backyard Babies and Space Age
Baby Jane. Backyard Babies is Sweden's biggest rockband at the moment and aregrowing
way out of their homecountry. The band consists of Nicke Borg (vocals & Guitar),
Dregen (Guitars & Vocals), Johan Blomquist (bass) and Peder Carlsson (drums).
Dregen and Borg make up a frontduo with almost unlimited starquality and potential.
Recently bassist Blomquist have been on fire as well. This band breaths rock n
roll and eventhough their latest album - "Total 13" - was some
kind of a disappointment, they're destined for the stars. Contrary to most bands,
Backyard Babies are real. Dregen and Borg ARE rock n roll, the first mentioned
is one of the most energetic appearences you'll ever get the chance to watch.
Johhny Thunders didn't die in vain. In case you haven't heard the band, they sound
like a 90's version of Hanoi Rocks, Guns n Roses and Sex Pistols.
One got down, three to go. Well, it won't be long until all four hit the dirt
on Backyard Babies command.
Most songs were from "Total 13" except a cover of Hanoi Rocks'
"Taxi Driver" and "Fill Up this Bad Machine",
the latter is from Backyard Babies' first album - "Diesel & Power".
I wouldn't mind if the Babies increased the amount of songs from their debut which
material is a bit more varied and, in fact, better. The hitsingle "Look
at You" got the audience nuts and was the concerts brightest moment.
Backyard Babies easily won the battle of Hultsfred.
The Hultsfredfestival is very recommended. Even if the music ain't up your alley,
it's a pleasant experience. Lots of people from different subcultures. If you're
interested in discussing music, life, love or politics, no one will be speechles.
Everyone has got an opinion and that is what makes every festival worth while
when the music suck (which it usually does). There were however some tendencies
at Hultfred that I dislike a lot. I had a backstage pass which gives access to
the space behind the stages. This is the ultimate place of segregation. Only bands
or business are allowed backstage. Getting there was no problem, the fuss started
when I tried to get in where the beer was served. I might add that this was also
the place where everyone was, actually this was the real backstage area. The Guard
(you have to be 18 years old to buy beer in Sweden) grabbed my shoulder, looked
me in the eye - a look that said "You're not that welcome here" - held
me for a couple of seconds before releasing me. I won't jump on anyone for doing
his job BUT one can be nice and this action had nothing to do with me being underage.
Then why did he let me enter despite that sore look on his face? I didn't like
it inside. Too many "wanna bee's" and people who felt very important
and laughed in the "right places" when even more important people attempted
to be funny. Things like that makes me sick, I'm not a part of the ratrace. Maybe
it was me that was in the wrong mood? Probably... Anyway I left to watch a concert,
the sad scenario started when I got back and tried to get in again. The Same guard
as before had obviously changed his mind, this time evil looks wasn't enough,
he wouldn't let me enter. He asked for I.D. I answered that I didn't have any.
Come on! I bring flyers, my glamkit, my good sense of humour and drugs to a festival
but not my I.D. I had it back at the camp (which was far away from the backstage
area). I may look younger than my age but not like 17! Gimme a break! I don't
like that attitude. Why being hostile to your guests? I thought this was about
rock n roll. I thought the general approach was to have fun. Obviously not. I
guess it's all about beat and bow in the right places. I told him to get lost
and left just to run into the beautiful girl (who I mentioned earlier)... in the
arms of another man. Life's fair isn't it?
Arvika as a small town in the west of Sweden, close to the
border of Norway. The Arvikafestival has got a focus on goth and industry, Sisters
of Mercy was the headliners. During the festival I watched Kent (a swedish popband),
Sisters of Mercy, Backyard Babies and Space Age Baby Jane.
Sisters Of Mercy are an interesting band. How Andrew Eldrich manages to get such
a reputation and following is a mystery to me. Sure, the music is quite good but
not anything special. There must be some magic or poison to which I'm immune.
It was raining cats and dogs during the concert and all goths really had to stand
the test of weather, all their black make-up fell to the ground. I suppose it
was worth it though as this was Sisters of Mercy's only appearance in Sweden this
Backyard Babies grabbed Arvika by the balls. The Audience freaked out and this
was the wildest moment in Sweden this summer. The Guards in front of the stage
pulled people over the fence. Lots of stagediving et.c. The Babies had the same
set as usual, I'm starting to get a bit bored due to that.
Age Baby Jane was a pleasant suprise. This is an up and coming band fromBorlänge,
Sweden. They play glitter pop/rock heavily influenced by Bowie. Vocalist/ guitarist
Anders Ljung is an androgyneous gypsy from outer space and guitarist Mick knows
all the cliches which make rock n roll survive. Steve Priest-look- a-like bassist
Laban, seem to be stuck in one place though. All in all, Space Age Baby Jane is
one magical band. Glitzine will feature more on them in the near future.
Both festivals are worth a visit. It was very hard for Glitzine to get presstickets
however. The Staff in Hultfred only gave me a backstage- pass with the justification
that they receive applications from many fanzines and magazines. The Next breath
they started talking about how well they support the underground scene. I guess
that scene doesn't include glam/sleaze rock. Glitzine is, by far, the biggest
glam/sleaze magazine in Europe (10 000 readers) or maybe even the world. If the
festival wanted to support glamrock, Glitzine would be the best choice but as
too many times before - glamrock was neglected. The Responsible at Arvika managed
to lose Glitzine's application. Therefore, everyone who reads this and think the
general view upon glamrock sucks. Mail Hultsfred
& Arvika and demand more
glam/sleaze rock and Glitzine.
For more information:
Hultsfred - Website
Arvikafestivalen - Website