White Town Swedish Gigs

A Swedish Indie Kid, earlier this week
A Swedie Indish kid earlier today

Last weekend I played live for the first time since January 1994.

With the help of Rich and Rob, White Town played at Cosy Den on Saturday and then Halmstad Rockstugan on Sunday.

The gigs were amazing. Life-changing, for me. I met so many wonderful people in Sweden. Here’s a few off the top of my head: Mattias, Åsa, Ville, Johann, Hannah, Mårten, Marie, Tommy, Julius, Rickard, Stefan, David, Tobias, Morten, Emma and so, so many more. Apologies if I left out or mis-spelled your name, I’ve only been home a few hours and my head is still spinning from the experience.

Both gigs were beautiful in different ways. There were far fewer people in Halmstad but they listened just as intently as the bigger crowd in Gothenburg. And they all got up and danced when I played ‘Your Woman!’ :-) Top marks to the young lovers at the back who were making out all the way through the Halmstad gig, you distracted me a bit but you were very sweet.

The Cosy Den crowd also made me feel totally welcome and loved. It was the best kind of gig a singer-songwriter could play: I could see that people were listening and so I could sing every line completely at them. When Anton Gustavsson interviewed me months ago, this was exactly the kind of gig I said I wanted to play.

The indie scene in Sweden is incredibly vibrant and diverse. Whereas British indie is still gripped by the cold, dead hands of post-hardcore, emo and dreadful “challenging” experimental music, Swedish indie bands are actually out there writing pop songs about their lives and experiences. I was lucky enough to play with Vapnet, Agent Simple and Great Days and they all blew most of our “scene” bands out of the water. You should have seen Vapnet whip the crowd into a frenzy, it was magnificent! It was Great Days first gig in Halmstad but you wouldn’t have known it, they had just the right balance of fragility and humour. And as for Agent Simple… well, Stefan and his cohorts just know how to rock and how to write immensely catchy pop songs. Perhaps we need to get these bands over to Britain to teach us what great pop music is all about, eh? It seems we’ve forgotten somewhere in the gale of shouty nonsense we’ve been enduring lately…

Now I’m home, the shock of the gigs is beginning to percolate through me. I’ll vent all that on Bzangy rather than here since a lot of it is non-White Town rambling.

I’m now going to send out feelers to see if there’s anything like the Swedish scene over here in Britain or other parts of Europe. If there is, I’ll go and play gigs (if they want me). I’m looking for nights and scenes where there’s a real love of pop songs, of singing about real life rather than fantasy and where politics isn’t something to be sneered at. I’m looking for people who are unafraid to show they care.

In Sweden I met many lovely people and had many great arguments / discussions about Andrea Dworkin, Felt, Finnish music, Gramsci, Rodney P, straight edge, McCarthy, singing in Swedish or English, socialism, sexism and sexuality… It was like a dream for a gobshite like me, being surrounded by these passionate, educated, erudite people. There simply wasn’t enough time to talk! God, it was good to talk about politics with music fans again. And here they are, expounding their perspectives perfectly lucidly in an un-native tongue. I couldn’t even say, ‘Talar du engelska?’ and be understood properly… :-(

Thank you, Swedie indie kids for making an old man very happy and making me feel a bit less of an isolated freak.

I LOVE YOU ALL! :-)

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November 3, 2005. News.