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Concerts Of 2016, Recap

Now that Gröna Lund is officially closed for the season, I thought I'd post some impressions of the concerts I've been to this year. I jotted down a few lines of fresh thoughts after each, that I'll pretty much be adding below in (translated but otherwise) pretty much unaltered form.

It all started with:

Mando Diao (1:35)

Mando Diao

Sept 2. Great show! Both evocative and intense songs in mixed Swedish and English, and a pretty unique style. Some quiet songs, but a lot of faster ones too. Much guitar. Much grind. Great vibe and audience; a really pompous finale/encore with flares and smokescreen. Best energy so far. Pictures.

Genre was rock, pop, and maybe a little blues? Powerful voice.

Bo Kaspers Orkester (1:39)

Bo Kaspers Orkester

Sept 8. Another really smooth concert.

It started with a lot of brass and grooves - happy, elegant tracks, and ended with not just one but three encores (the first one with surprise guest artist Frida Örn), and the two best songs: vi kommer alltid leva, vi kommer aldrig att dö. Vi är på samma sida, i samma fil, i samma bil. I tusen år... And then some. Awesome drum solo, and also solos with sax and trumpet, and plenty of humor mixed in with the music, though Bo wasn't the greatest at directing the audience.

Everything went on one or two tracks too far too. It should have ended when it was as best, with them never dying... or that other track. That would've been perfect.

Conclusively: really musical group, with a variational roster of songs. Humor and energy. Cool, groovy music; sometimes pretty intense. A bit experimental. Pictures.

Genre was jazzy, with a lot of brass and dance music influence (tango?), but also plenty of guitar. Maybe pop or Indie.

Backyard Babies (1:25)

Backyard Babies

Sept 16. It was a little colder this time, with a thinner crowd. Heavy metal people apparently don't headbang much either - they mostly stood still with arms crossed and nodded, even if the audience did start getting wilder towards the end. The smokescreen was heavy: if you looked up, the sky was hidden behind a thick mist.

Rocky, thrashy punkrock, with some great tracks, and some not so special. Their performance was great, though the song a bit so and so: often the lead singer shouted out a Gröna Lund! or Tack som fan Gröna Lund! (which basically translates to: Thank you like the devil Gröna Lund!) in the middle of a verse, and that took away a bit of the atmosphere. Not because of the devilish reference, but because it broke up the song. They shouted this so much that when it was over it was also unexpectedly sudden. Tack som fan Gröna Lund!. The End.

But they did come out with an encore, albeit with a bit of a hesitant curtain call at first. When the crowd started thinning out during the wait I moved forward a bit, until the bass and drum bounced off me like a second heartbeat, and the ground shook. It was awesome - though surprisingly low volume compared to earlier concerts... was what I thought. Apparently the bass was just stronger than the treble, so it wasn't as noticeable, and it took a long time before my hearing came back afterwards. No permanent damage, I hope.

I actually had ear plugs with me this time (which I'd forgotten at all earlier venues (would have liked to have remembered them on the last one since the brass was pretty sharp then), but didn't think I needed them after all. Next time!!!

Overall it was a bit cold - had to walk real fast after the show to warm up, and the energy wasn't as high as I hoped, but the band did bring their best. Good concert. Great music. Pictures.

Genre was sleaze rock. Like a mixture of glam rock and heavy metal. Grungy and great. Powerful voice.

Dada Life (1:35)

Dada Life

Sept 23. This wasn't really my genre of choice, and it's a bit odd with a live performance with artists that just stand and turn tables - rather than play real instruments, jump around and live into their music... but what an audience!! It was wild!

I was with buddy Bear, who absolutely wanted to get as close to the front as possible, but I soon backed away when people started getting crazy. Even at the edge of the crowd everybody jumped, but with a bit more space between them. The smoke sprayed, the confetti covered the sky, giant inflatable bananas pummeled the crowd, and green lasers played against a metal wall behind us - through the smokescreen over our heads.

It took me a while to get into the same trance as everyone else, but maybe they saved their best tracks for last, because I did get into it too. Sort of. Wish I would've jumped more and really gone crazy - maybe I just need some more practice. The vibe was pretty nice though, albeit not as musical and proper as previous concerts. Even Backyard Babies had some form of 'class' - even if the music they played shouldn't have given that impression. It felt like Dada Life were just all motherfucking attitude, and the attitude was all about fucking shit up, even if the message was supposedly love peace and party. And no encore. But maybe this style of music doesn't usually have those?

Pretty cool experience in the end. Definitely the best energy of all. Pictures.

Genre was House/EDM. Great hooks, but a bit monotone otherwise.

Refused (1:12)

Refused

Sept 29. No encore with these guys either, but the energy!! Damn. Both lead singer and drummer went haywire. Awesome voice. A light show that hurt the eyes at first (flashes with epilepsy potential), but soon it warmed up and was refreshingly clean and classy. They had solid panels of light behind them (that flashed at first, were white later on, turned red during 'Blood of the Father', and went a mesh of colors soon after) and a liege of warm spotlights above. Like you see in stadiums - not usually at Gröna Lund. At least not with the artists I've seen.

They played with an unreliable rhythm that was hard to headbop to sometimes, but then it went melodic again, and overall they killed it. Great show, even if the crowd seems to be shrinking for each one of these. I swapped my shorts for regular pants on this one. Wise choice.

Lead singer was a good talker too, even if I didn't agree with all of his political views on the topics he brought up (fight against patriotism - which they mistake for racism, open the borders, let everyone in, overload the welfare system, don't mind the consequences - same old mass media meandering embedded in the otherwise so positive message of sharing and caring. Why do so many artists preach the same lane - you would think those who tour and travel wouldn't be so naive!). But otherwise: great talks; great music. Gotta love that rebellious attitude too. I do wish for a change - less consumerism, less greed - but not the way they pray. Pictures.

Genre was punk and hardcore. A bit like Nirvana. Powerful voice.

Madness (1:28)

Madness

Sept 30. I was happily surprised that Madness was a Ska band! :D I went with buddy Bear again, and though he wasn't as satisfied as I was he did get into it toward the end. I thought the music was great: melodic, jumpy (maybe a bit too happy sometimes) and professional. A bit whimsy singing on some songs, and not as energetic as I hoped, but the singer did keep the vibe high. He put on a good show, and mixed in some much-appreciated British humor, but it felt like he didn't really put his everything into the music. Some piano added a nice twist to the Ska-type music I'm used to. Felt like they had a style of their own.

The concert was a bit shorter than I hoped, but at least longer than the previous! They gave a couple encores too, and saved the best for last, and a cover on 'Highway to Hell'. >:D

Though the weather was colder, the crowd was all but thin on this one! It was totally packed, and we arrived just as they started so we didn't get too far in. A bit annoying with people who shoved their way back and forth through the crowd during the concert, but I did get a good spot near-back. A clear view of the stage... except when people raised their phoney cameras to film. That should be illegal. At least with the double-handed grip where both arms are in the way.

Felt like the band's seen their best days, but musically they were great, with great coordination. Most professional performance thus far. I miss the energy of the smaller bands who have something to lose, but I did appreciate their homely manner, and how comfortable they seemed on stage. Intresting light show too, with a wall of small lights that rolled 'Madness' every once in a while, in big red letters. Pictures.

Genre was Ska! :D And Pop. A bit energy-less singing, but good.

And that was it for this year! Or at least for Gröna Lund. I did miss a lot of the ones I'd have liked to see, like NOFX, Hollywood Vampires, Iggy Pop, Millencolin, Whitesnake and Deep Purple.... but hopefully next year's roster of artists is just as good as this one! I'm looking forward to many more great experiences then. You can view the full recap of this year's concerts here.

Pictures courtesy of Gröna Lund.

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