Monday, July 16, 2007

Please Don't Play "Rip It Up"

So, what was Rip It Up like then? Apart from hearing the Orange Juice song so many times I won't be able to listen to it for quite a while. The location was quite nice - outside a small town called Säffle, lodged inside a small industrial area and right next to a heritage-marked marsh. The car park was actually in the marsh area, which didn't seem like a very bright idea to me. And going for a swim in the two feet deep 'lake' wasn't either, as three of my friends found out.

The stage was an extension of one of the loading docks to the big building you can see in the picture above. I don't think everyone knew that what was actually inside was a fair-sized football pitch made of synthetic grass! But the arrangers Johan and Fredrik were terrified people would sneak in and ruin it anyway! I travelled up on the Thursday, which turned out to be pointless because there wasn't much to do. At least in the evening Mikael and Viktor, formerly of the legendary Starke Adolf club played some records on the stage. Friday was one long wait for the bands to get started. But the rest of my friends all arrived that day so there was plenty to do. Also, Fraction Discs did a short but sweet dj set. As they played "Throw Aggi From the Bridge" my friend Andrew from London walked past the stage. I didn't realise it was him until I saw him again after that. He told me he'd recorded a snippet with his camera to send to Mike from Slumberland/Black Tambourine. He knows Mike of course, because they were both once in The Crabapples. It didn't seem like the stage crew would be able to get everything working and sounding ok for 5 pm, and unfortunately The Sunny Street had some problems with the sound. But it was good anyway, because no one had any expectations as they have never played in Sweden before (in fact this was their second gig ever) and I don't think that many people had heard them. It was great to meet Rémi and Delphine - they were so sweet! I think they were probably those of the foreign artist who hung out the most with us 'ordinary people'. They told me they'd seen A Smile and a Ribbon in London, but had been to shy to say hello. Their band name is supposed to be ironic, but the sun actually peered out, as you can see.

Next on were Strawberry Fair and she had people from lots of other bands as backing musicians and vocalists. I've only heard a few of her old songs so I liked "I Can't Do Anything" best. David from The Morning Paper (who have just released their first single on Cloudberry) played drums and Alice from After-School Sports (and formerly The Never Invited to Parties!!) and Ida from The Bridal Shop were on backing vocals. After that was a band that many people were waiting to see. I had never seen Liechtenstein before either, so I could hardly wait. Liechtenstein is Renée from Fraction Discs own band, and she's joined by three other girls. It was obvious that they haven't played live much but it was all in keeping with the DIY, all-girl spirit of early 80's post-punk bands like Girls At Our Best!, Dolly Mixture and Mo-Dettes. The fact that they're the only band I've seen with two guitarists playing Squires pretty much proves my point. As I've only heard the songs on the 7" it was great to get a chance to hear new material. It all sounded good, but maybe one backbeat too many! Patrik (aka Ring Snuten!) was on next and it must have felt rather good for him to be at an indiepop festival without having to worry about the arrangement itself. As you probably know, he was one of the people behind the Liv festivals outside Kalmar. I've seen him play before, so I was not that excited but then suddenly he invited the former members of Dorotea up on the stage for a handful of songs, and the crowd went wild as the percentage of Gothenburgians at the festival was sizeable (and there's nothing more Gothenburg than Dorotea!)

You know who this is, don't you? Yes, that's Glenn Melia on the left and I can't believe I was actually there! Seeing St. Christopher live was pretty special and lots of other people must have felt the same, because by the time the boys came back on for the encore there was a proper mosh pit forming. And the fact that they ended on "All of a Tremble" didn't exactly calm things down... They played all the hits actually, and the biggest surprise was probably "It's Snowing On the Moon" - the b-side to Sarah 46. I had that in my Christmas podcast, if you remember. I talked to Glenn for a bit before the gig and he said he wasn't playing the song I had requested some months ago, because back then he was thinking of doing a solo set accompanied only by a drum machine. Now they were a three-piece so I guess they opted for the more bombastic material. And there aren't many bands who can boast an opening track like "Say Yes to Everything"! I wasn't too disappointed though, as I would have been in ectasy whichever songs they'd chosen to play. Glenn said they didn't have any new stuff, but he was going to write some new songs for upcoming releases on Plastilina and Cloudberry. An economical guy - he won't write songs until he has a confirmed release. I advised him to stay and watch the next band: Days. Just because St. Christopher was one of the bands they reminded me of when I first heard them. But then it started raining and you couldn't recognise anyone behind the umbrellas and the raincoats. It was also around this time that Dan Treacy first ventured outside the backstage area, and it was quite a shock to say the least. No one was really expecting the TVPs to come, and then before you know it Dan is standing there in his wollen cap, just a few yards away. I would have like to say something but there immediately formed a crowd of teenagers around him that seemed to follow him around for the rest of the festival. He was drunk and the kids seemed bloody annoying so I decided not to bother him any further. Anyways, Days came on and did a magnificent set full of gloriously sparkling pop. The rain was picking up but I don't think anyone cared. There were intermittent shouts from the audience along the lines of "sooo fucking good!" and "the best band in Sweden!". I'm glad people have finally understood. Days were at least as good as last time I saw them and they finished with an old song that has already reached legendary status (at least if you're a Signed Papercut!). I managed to squeee my camera in-between the umbrellas overhead and the hoods of raincoats in front, to capture the moment.

It felt like the climax of the first day was behind us, and there was no sign of clear skies. I stayed for a while though, to see Mikael who is The Honeydrips. His first album was finally released a few months back and it was a relief because some of the songs are three years old now. There are a few different kinds of Honeydrips gigs, this one turned out to be of the type where he played his one-string bass (which was not switched on) and sang over the backtrack. It was good enough though, and the new songs are really fab. You can get the album Here Comes the Future from Sincerely Yours, I think. After that I was thouroughly soaked and didn't really care for seeing The Tough Alliance. I mean, their new records are nice enough but their live shows still seem pointless. And I can't get past thinking of them as a pair of right toffs. Me and Nils-Martin went to dry up in his car instead. I ended up getting my shoes soaked instead however (the car park was in the marsh, remember?). Air France did some deejaying after that, I think, but I was spent and went back to the tent and fell asleep... eventually. Maybe that's why people drink so much? So they can then happily fall asleep in their tent (or someone elses).

To be continued. (Well, there was a second day you know.)


Rodrigo said...

really looking forward to the second part of the post! TVps cancelled their gig twice in two years here in Barcelona.. I hope you had more luck!

Marianthi said...

What a fantastic review! Wow. xx