War Of Kings tour 2015, European tour leg 1
The Vintage Caravan – support act
Kulturbolaget, Malmo, Sweden
20/9 – 2015
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Sweden’s biggest hard rock act, Europe, released their latest album WAR OF KINGS back in March 2015. It’s the band’s tenth album so far. Along with Black Star Riders, the band toured throughout England when the album was released and during the summer the band performed at several festivals. During the fall, the band was out doing club gigs and the tour started out in Denmark on the 19th of September and ends in France at the 6th of December. Since the band performed at clubs and were pretty fast with setting the dates for the tour, the tickets rapidly sold out and the show in Malmo was the second one on the tour and Kulturbolaget was completely sold out. Along with them on the tour they have the support act The Vintage Caravan and they followed Europe during the entire European tour.
This was the first show for me at Kulturbolaget for the fall/winter and I was excited to once again check out my second home – the best rock venue in townt. I had to do some reading about The Vintage Caravan and found out that the band comes from Iceland and was founded back in 2006. They have released three albums and the latest one came this year, called ARRIVAL on Nuclear Blast. Experts claim the band’s music is rock, but I have also read descriptions of their music as being psychedelic rock, hard rock, blues rock and progressive rock. A line of people stood outside waiting at the club when I showed up about one hour before the place opened. Many of the people in line were probably around when the band first started out and the majority of the fans that waited were in their 40’s and 50’s.
Inside I took a look at the merchandise and the band offered the fans a line of t-shirts but I couldn’t see the latest album for sale. About 30 minutes after the door had opened the club was semi-full and luckily I could see that there was a photo pit available. Kulturbolaget can hold about 850 people and more and more people turned up the sooner it got for the support act to go on stage.
The Vintage Caravan
At the stroke of 7 o clock the pause music silenced and the support act came onto the stage. The band ran through two songs after which singer/guitarist Agústsson thanked the crowd in Swedish for being there supporting the band, then he changed into English and said it was an honor being in Malmo to play and open for Europe. The band played a really strange mix of progressive rock/hard rock with a crazy distorted bass guitar, solid drum play and energetic guitar play. The choice of putting The Vintage Caravan as support to Europe was a strange kind of choice I have to say, as their music has nothing in common with each other. The Icelandic trio consists of:
Óskar Logi Agústsson – lead vocals, guitar
Alexander Örn Nûmason – bass
Stefán Ari – drums
The members stood mostly solid on their spots and most movement came from Agústsson who took a few steps forward when he did guitar solos. After a few songs I wasn’t the only one who had lost focus on the music and the band as I saw many that made their way to the bar instead of standing put listening to the band. Most of the songs followed straight after each other and the band didn’t do much talking. Agústsson said that all the great bands come from Sweden and asked if we were ready to see Europe. The lights weren’t the best and there were quite a lot of smoke on the stage. The sound worked perfectly and that was also probably what was best with the show. Finally it was time for the last song and the singer said the band was going to be out amongst the people at the club if anyone wanted to have a chat with them. The show lasted for 40 minutes which felt like the double amount of time but the showed were wrapped up at 8.40. The music was not my thing and pretty long and once again, who paired these two bands together?
The club was now nearly filled with anxious people who wanted Europe to kick off their show. It’s hard to deny the fact that Europe has meant a lot to the Swedish music industry and the hard rock scene, but honestly, the band hasn’t released any great albums the past few years. The crew worked hard to prepare the stage and soon you could see the drums and speakers with lights on to the stage and in the middle at the front of the stage a white mic stand was placed. For Europe, there were few things on the stage, but I guess it’s hard to take too much gear on a club tour. Despite these few things, it took about 30 minutes to get things ready but then it was time for the night’s long awaited performance by the epic Europe.
The members made their way on to the stage while the intro music was playing and the fans greeted their idols with cheers and love. The show began with the title track to the new album “War Of Kings” and then followed “Hole In My Pocket”. Singer Tempest seemed to be in a great mood and he walked around on stage shadow boxing with the fans. The temperature began to reach boiling point and Europe had only played two songs! Tempest said thanks for the amazing support the fans showed despite the fact that the band comes from Stockholm (there’s always been a little friendly feud between the tree biggest cities in Sweden – Stockholm, Göteborg and Malmoe). Tempest said it was time for the band to play the first old song and “Superstitious” followed. The band’s line up is:
Joey Tempest – lead vocals
John Norum – guitar
John Levén – bass
Mic Michaeli – keyboards
Ian Haugland – drums
Tempest worked really hard on stage and the fans followed his every move; he was the one who connected the most with the fans. He let the crowd sing the chorus to “Superstitious” and everyone, especially in the front, sang along at the top of their lungs. “Scream Of Anger” woke up the remaining few that hadn’t fully joined the party yet. When the song was over the fans continued screaming the band’s name which made Tempest smile even more. “Last Look At Eden” followed and then Tempest took on an acoustic guitar and said it was time for the slow but steady “New Love In Town”. So was it time for a song taken from the brand new album in “The Second Day” and the song featured a really nice light show with a lot of red light that took over the stage. The lights worked great but sometimes both Levén and Norum stood in the dark. “Firebox” continued the now really sweaty show and when Tempest wasn’t singing the song, he played a tambourine.
It was mainly Tempest that moved around on the stage while Norum and Levén stood on each side playing. Their lack of movement could have something to do with the limited amount of space on the stage. The space available was mostly dedicated to Tempest who swung and juggled his mic stand all the time. Norum dazzled now and then with his amazing guitar solos but Levén stood mostly still, looking bored and uncomfortable. Suddenly all the lights were on keyboard player Michaeli who did a solo that turned out in “Sign Of The Times” and the rest of the band who had walked off the stage came back and joined him and finished the song together. Tempest wanted the fans to put their hands in the air in the middle of the song and the only thing you saw if you stood at the back was a wall of hands and arms.
“Praise You” continued and a massive wall of white lights poured out behind the band and it looked really cool. Tempest changed the lyrics in the refrain to “Malmo City” and the fans screamed happily when they heard the new words. Michaeli kicked off the song that followed and the stage once again turned blood-red and Tempest shouted “Come on Malmo” as the band fired off “The Beast” which was followed by the great “Ready Or Not”. The fans sang the lyrics together with Tempest and the already overheated club became even hotter. The band’s older hits worked over all better than the more current ones which made sense, remembering that the majority of the people in the club were around when Europe had their big break through. I guess the middle-aged fan base wanted to hear the hits and experience their childhood heroes playing them live.
“Vasastan”, which is a strictly instrumental song, followed as Tempest went off the stage and let the rest of the band do their thing. Norum was the one who shone the brightest and he’s a genius on guitar. The band only played half of the song and “Girl From Lebanon” followed. The band was solid and everyone completed each other perfectly. Tempest’s voice was amazing and he showed that he is quite a charismatic frontman. Tempest asked if the fans was ready for something heavy and fired off “Nothin’ To Ya” and the song was followed by a drum solo by Haugland. He played an OK solo to the beat of march-music and when the band returned back on stage, they all fired off “Let The Good Times Roll” taken from the OUT OF THIS WORLD album. The song turned out to be a crowd pleaser and everyone sang along. In the middle of the song Tempest jumped down into the photo pit and reached out the mic stand amongst the crowd and let them sing the song. He stayed in the pit for a while and walked from side to side shaking hands with the fans and he had the crowd in the palm of his hands from the very beginning of the show.
So was it time for a song taken from the band’s extremely successful album THE FINAL COUTDOWN in “Rock The Night” which made the fans go crazy. Tempest let the fans sing the song on their own and they almost overpowered the band. In the middle it was time for a sing along with only drum and bass and the band looked really happy with the response they got from the fans. The final song of the show was “Days Of Rock n Roll” in which Tempest once again played guitar. He and Levén joked around on the stage and chased each other during the song and Tempest said he wanted to see everyone in the audience clap their hands. He walked out on the ramp and let the fans touch his guitar at the end of the song and that ended 90 minutes of rock n roll music. Tempest thanked the fans for an amazing show and everyone went off the stage. The audience wanted to hear at least one more song and the intro to the bands biggest hit “The Final Countdown” began before Michaeli was behind the keyboards. Tempest once again handed out the mic stand to the fans and let them do the singing and this song was the one that singlehandedly brought down the most singing along, cheering and clapping throughout the show. Tempest encouraged the fans to sing even louder in the chorus and the sing along was deafening. That song ended the entire evening and the band once again thanked the fans and walked off the stage. Altogether the show lasted for about 100 minutes and left nothing to complain about.
Some of the song was a little updated and re-arranged which was fine with me and that made the set list feel a little more fresh and energetic. The band was crazy solid and Tempest’s voice was magical, no signs of tiredness whatsoever. The only thing I had wished for was to hear maybe one or two more encores but that is also the one and only remark I can come up with. It was a brilliant night and I think the band was as happy as the fans were when it was time to go home, a little happier and a bit more deaf than when the evening began. Thanks Kulturbolaget for bringing Europe to Malmo.
War Of Kings
Hole In My Pocket
Scream Of Anger
Last Look At Eden
New Love In Town
The Second Day
Sign Of The Times
Ready Or Not
Girl From Lebanon
Nothing To Ya
Let The Good Times Rock
Rock The Night
Days Of Rock n Roll
The Final Countdown
Thanks to head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for press/photo pass, thanks to staff and security at Kulturbolaget for friendly and nice treatment.