I hate to say this but most concerts are not even worth the walk to the venue. Watching bands play the same songs interspersed with corny banter for the gazillionth time is unbearable. I agree with Richard Hell: CONCERTS suck ass. No matter how much I like a band's records, that appreciation rarely translates to their live show. Mostly I find myself twitching, checking my phone, and taking numerous trips to the bar in order to get an equal number of bathroom visits out of my bladder (if you’re bored enough to think "maybe I need to pee,” you’ll be bursting from the mere thought). Hence, I haven’t bothered going to music festivals lately. Then, for some magic reason—namely a killer line-up —I dragged my ass down to the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg (Sweden’s indie capital inhabited by adorable bands like Love Is All, Studio, Jens Lekman and every other listenable Swindie musician).
Way Out West has been around for three years and has completely sold out every time. This year 25,000 hot Vikings showed up while the other Scandinavian festivals joined forces and formed a complaints choir about the economic crisis yawn yawn yawn something something.
My Bloody Valentine
I was so nervous before this show that I almost didn’t go. There’s no need to explain MBV’s greatness, though the chance of them being able to convey the brilliant messiness of their noise live seemed less than probable to me. Boy was I wrong (I’m sure a bunch of you have already seen them live and can agree). Someone told me that they spend insane amounts of money (like 200k) on every single concert, rehearsing and considering sound levels. Seeing them live, it suddenly makes sense. I wonder how much the fee for breaking the legal sound barrier is in a square country like Sweden? It was unforgettable to see them hypnotize a sea of Swedish Joe Schmoes.
Echo & the Bunnymen
Liverpool’s prime musical act performing their whole Ocean Rain album couldn’t be less than epic. I must admit that when Ian McCulloch said “this is the best album ever made,” I decided it was time to leave. Dr. Coke had spoken.
The Big Pink
I’ve spent weeks listening only to “Velvet” and “Too Young To Love” on repeat. Their whole sound is pretty addictive. They were unbelievably good live as well, which had nothing to do with me being biased from liking them so much. Any band that manages to create a sound as powerful live as they do on record, which they did by mastering an impressive amount of effect pedals and replacing their drum machine with a cute Japanese drummer like Akiko from Comanechi, gets a golden star.
Antony & the Johnsons with Göteborgs Symfoniker
Antony was so nervous that the first half of the concert felt like watching a puppy trying to hang on to a rollercoaster. It was pretty scary. Maybe he's not used to thousands of people acting like total fanatics? After a while he must have taken a liking to it, as he started smiling and even attempted to dance (!). I never thought I’d hear an orchestra and Antony & the Johnsons cover of Beyoncé’s “Crazy In Love.”
Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver played at the same stage, but for some reason the tedious Bon Iver show was unbearably jam-packed while only people with good taste decided to see the big nosed band of man-bears from Brooklyn.