Nordic Noir Tour 2019 Scandinavia First Leg
w/Satan Takes A Holiday – support act
29/3 – 2019
Live review and pictures by: Anders Sandvall
Swedish glam/hard rock act Backyard Babies is back with a brand new album titled SLIVER AND GOLD, which is the follow up to their 2015 comeback album, FOUR BY FOUR, on the band’s brand new record label Century Media. In June 2018 the first single “Shovin’ Rocks” came out, followed by “Good Morning Midnight” this past January. The band didn’t release any music between 2008 and 2015, they’re celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. Still, the line up has been the same since their debut back in 1994; that alone is worthy of acknowledging!
On this tour they’ve brought along another Swedish band in Satan Takes A Holiday, which is a solid live act. This time around the tour didn’t stop in either Denmark or Norway, only Sweden and Finland, so once again I was set to go at the excellent club Kulturbolaget, in Malmo. Since the show took place on a Friday it was night club after the show so the gig had to stop at 11 o clock before the night club kicks off at 11.30. There weren’t many people waiting in line when I showed up about 30 minutes before the doors opened but the time went by quickly before it was time to make my way into the venue.
Satan Takes A Holiday comes from Stockholm, Sweden and started out back in 2006. The trio is comprised of Fred Burman, Johannes Lindsjöö, and Svante Nordström. The self-titled debut came out in 2009, and the band’s done quite a lot of touring since then, including opening for KISS and Hardcore Superstar at Friends Arena in Sweden. With the release of the 2014’s ANIMAL MAN WOMAN, Nordström left the band and was replaced by Danne McKenzie (ex- Mustasch). Playing a mix of rock n’ roll, sixties garage, and punk rock, Satan Takes A Holiday have received many positive reviews both for their recorded music and for their live performances. In March this year the first single “A New Sensation” from the new album was released and it was followed by the April release of the second single “Unicorn”. I have seen the band live a few times and they have never disappointed me, so I was looking forward to see them live again this night. Finally the clock had turn 8 and it was time for the trio to kick off the night in Malmo.
Satan Takes A Holiday
“Good Cop Bad Cop” was the first song out for the night and the trio had their faces painted in silver. Burman thanked the crowd, saying “It’s fun to be in Malmo this night, we are Satan Takes A Holiday from Stockholm and we’re going to entertain you. Here is “The Heat”!”. The tempo was energetic from the very first start. There were two boxed placed on each side at the front of the stage and Lindsjöö stood with his foot on one playing his distorted bass guitar. The trio is:
Fred Burman – lead vocals, guitar
Johannes Lindsjöö – bass
Danne McKenzie – drums
The crowd barely had time to catch their breath before the next song, “Never Let You Sleep” in which both Lindsjöö and Burman sang lead vocals. Burman said it was time for the handsome Danne McKenzie to sing in the song and all of the guys shared the lead vocals. Burman said the band had been recording a new album which, “will soon be released and we’re going to play a few new songs from it, here is “Unicorn”. The lights didn’t work in favor of the band and while Lindsjöö and Burman partially stood in darkness it was McKenzie that had the most lights on him. Burman asked if the crowd was looking forward to seeing Backyard Babies; strangely the crowd didn’t scream all that loudly. “Set Me On Fire” and Motörhead’s “Damage Case” followed. The trio really showed what skilled musicians they are and what an amazing live act they have become. There wasn’t a dull moment on stage and the front duo moved around as much as they could encouraging the fans to sing along and jump up and down. It was a great choice of cover to do a Motörhead song, you can never get too much Motörhead music! Lemmy would have been proud.
“Ladies and gentlemen it’s once again time for the talented and handsome Danne McKenzie to show what his got”, Burman shouted, and the following drum solo led up to “Who Do You Voodoo”, which is a great song. However, it felt like the crowd was a but stiff and it was only the first row that really supported the band. “We don’t come to Malmo too often”, Burman said, and after introducing the band, “Over there”, he said and pointed to the merchandise stand, “you can see we’re selling a bunch of stuff, if you want to buy anything or want to have anything signed then meet us there after the show. Here comes our last song for the night, here is “Heartbreaker”. Despite what he said, the song was followed by “Bumble”. The two songs sort of blended into each other and to be honest it was hard to even hear the change of songs. A long outro closed the set and the band thanked the fans to end the 35-minute show.
The guys didn’t disappoint me; they are a well oiled live machine that is hard to beat. They’re all skilled musicians that know how to take on a crowd; it definitely wasn’t their fault the crowd was a bit stiff. The set list great and the show left nothing more to wish for, except for perhaps some more time even though they were “only” the opening act. The only minor negative things were beyond the band’s control: bad lighting, smoke, and the lame crowd. If you haven’t seen Satan Takes A Holiday live before then make sure you catch them if they come to your town, you won’t regret it. Also make sure to get your hands on the brand new album A NEW SENSATION released by Despotz Recordings at the 19th of April.
Good Cop Bad Cop
Never Let You Sleep
Set Me On Fire
Damage Case (Motörhead cover)
Who Do You Voodoo
It was time for a change of gear and on each side of the drums rows of speakers was placed and at the front of the stage remained the two boxes also used by the support act, that was it other than a backdrop behind the stage. As time went by and the closer it got for the headline to go on the more people arrived to the club.
As I said earlier, Backyard Babies recently released their brand new album SLIVER AND GOLD. I have followed the band since their debut album DIESEL AND POWER and saw the band live for the first time the year after. In other words, you can call me a hardcore fan. The band was put to rest a few years ago but their come back album FOUR BY FOUR came out 2015 and got great reviews, making the guys realize there’s still an urge from the fans to see them. The tour continued and now we have a new album. To be honest, I wasn’t impressed by the reunion shows and expected more from the band because I know they’re an amazing live act when the want to be. It felt like the guys had lost their punkish, “we-do-what-we-want-and-we-don’t-care-what-anyone-thinks” attitude, and yes I know the guys now have kids and families but that doesn’t change the fact that you can still act cool. FOUR BY FOUR included a more polished sound that I didn’t necessarily love and I wasn’t fully convinced by the new album either.
At 9 o clock the pause music silenced and the Sex Pistols song “Friggin’ in the Riggin’’” was heard and that was the cue for the band to enter the stage.
“Good Morning Midnight” marked the beginning of the show and the fans gave the band a warm welcome. Next up was “Look At You”, which woke up the majority of the club. Dregen shouted “Come on Malmo!” – and the fans sang along with him and Borg in the chorus. The great “Dysfunctional Professional” followed and the crowd screamed from the top of their lungs when they heard the classic tune. Both Borg and Dregen used the boxes to stand on when they played and smoke shot up towards the roof when they were standing on them. The line up in the band is:
Nicke Borg – lead vocals, guitar
Dregen – lead guitar, vocals
Johan Blomqvist – bass
Peder Carlsson – drums
The sound system left more to wish for, especially Dregen’s guitar and vocals which were very low in the mix. It was also hard to see the band because of the smoke that lingered on to the stage.
Borg thanked the fans saying, “We have a new album out and it’s time to play the first single from it, please help us out and sing with us, here is “Shovin’ Rocks”. The fans did the best they could but it was obvious that many hadn’t heard the song too many times before and again, the crowd was a bit stiff. Borg forgot some lyrics and laughed until he came in right again. Dregen said he wanted the fans to make more noise because he couldn’t hear them, Borg said he wanted to see everyone clap their hands, “Come on here is “Nomadic” for you all!”
Dregen said it was time to travel back about 20 years in time, and he got no reaction from the crowd. He said it once again and got a little more reaction but he asked if the crowd was alive at all, “Come on Malmo, you can do better than this”, he said, “you’ve got a living jukebox on stage and everything”. “Here is “Highlights”, Borg said which woke up parts of the crowd. Blomqvist stood on one side looking cool playing his bass and it was the other two, especially Dregen that moved around the stage. The band was, as always, tight and solid as a rock but I guess that’s what 30 years together does to a band; everyone knows each other’s moves, which make them able to relax on stage. “It’s nice we’re leaving winter behind since we are turning the clocks forward to summer time on Sunday”, Borg said, “Let me see your hands in the air for this summer song “Heaven 2,9”. Borg wanted the fans to sing the song for him and parts of the crowd did and the song turned into an extended version. Borg switched to an acoustic guitar while Blomqvist and Carlsson walked off stage, leaving Borg and Dregen to play some acoustic songs. First was “Song for the Outcast” with the entire stage bathed in red lights. Dregen smoked on stage which is prohibited in Sweden, but I guess Dregen does what he wants, he’s a living legend. Carlsson and Blomqvist returned on stage and after looking a bit confused, Borg said make some noise for the band as the guys took on “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones. “Well, everyone knew that song”, Dregen said, “Can you all sing along in “Roads” as well? The audience sang the chorus before the song ended and Dregen thanked the crowd. “You’re all looking great, I love you”, he said after which he changed his guitar and Borg asked if we wanted to hear Dregen sing a song. Borg urged the fans to shout louder and it was time for a song from the new album in “44 Undead”.
An intro announced “Th1rt3n Or Nothing” and Dregen shouted “Malmo, Malmo, Malmo” and jumped up on one of the boxes to urge the fans waving their hands towards him. After a change of guitar it was time for “The Clash” which was followed by “Minus Celsius”. Borg said he had “a story we would like to share with the fans. The first time I was at Kulturbolaget was back in 1996 and on stage stood Social Distortion, and me and my friend were high as kites”. Dregen interrupted saying, “Well, weren’t you also here back in 1994 when we performed here? Have you forgotten that?” Borg pretended to remember then said “Well, we dedicate the next song to all of our friends here in Malmo, here is “Abandon”.
So far they’d only played one song from the comeback album, none from DIESEL AND POWER (strange!), and only two songs from PEOPLE LIKE PEOPLE LIKE PEOPLE LIKE US. Even though the band played some of their hits they still had many other great songs to choose from and it was too bad they didn’t pick one of the older songs like the excellent “Electric Suzy”.
At least the crowd had woken up; there was a lot more singing and chanting now compared to when the show first started. Borg didn’t look his best, a bit tired and pale when he said, “Come on Malmo, we have been here before and know you can do better than this, let me see everyone in here go ape shit! Here is some “Brand New Hate” for you all”. That lit up the crowd and Borg let the fans take on the chorus and the last verse. That song ended the first part of the show. The band waved good bye and left the stage but the fans shouted for more, 75 minutes wasn’t enough and the crowd kept on shouting for encores until the guys returned.
Borg said it was time for another story, “We have a friend in Mattias Bengtsson who has been with us forever and he’s written a song on the new album called “Yes To All No” and here it is”. Even though the new songs worked great live, I missed the heaviness and edge that the former Backyard Babies songs had. The new album feels too polished compared to the older, rawer material which is the material I have loved and cherished for so long. Since they played almost half of the new album during the show, you can guess what I thought of the set list.
The fans clapped and Borg asked if they wanted to hear some more songs. Dregen said the band was going to continue touring for 20 years. “Can you handle that? Well here is “People Like People Like People Like Us”. That song ended the show and another 10 minutes of music and the guys took off their instruments, threw some guitar pics to the crowd and then headed off stage.
As a crazy hard core fan of the band since the very beginning of their career, I have to say that I am a bit disappointed both in the new album as well as this show. Borg seemed to be a bit tired on stage and even though the band was as tight as ever, something is missing; they didn’t feel as explosive as before. The only one who kept the banner high was Dregen; the guy is a genius and a legend. I missed songs from DIESEL AND POWER which in my mind is one of the best debut albums of all time. Why only do one song from FOUR BY FOUR? Instead of the acoustic part of the show, which was OK, the guys could have used the time to maybe play a medley of their old hard hitting songs. The show was OK, but too short, and I have seen the band deliver much stronger back in the day. I miss the old version of Backyard Babies.
And what was up with the lazy and stiff crowd? Come on, if you go to a Backyard Babies show you should be amped up to your teeth because you know you’re going to experience great songs and one electrified Dregen live in action. You don’t stand still clapping your hands like you’re at a Nazareth show or something (no shadow cast on Nazareth). Maybe it was because of the laid back crowd the band didn’t perform better? Overall I wished for more from the band and I wasn’t satisfied at all when I walked home. I really hope the next album is more like what the band sounded like back in the days.
Friggin’ In The Riggin’ (intro) (Sex Pistols)
Good Morning Midnight
Look At You
A Song For The Outcast (acoustic by Nicke and Dregen)
Roads – acoustic
Brand New Hate
Yes To All No
People Like People Like People Like Us
Thanks to the head of Kulturbolaget Totte Lundgren for help
with press/photo pass to the show: www.kulturbolaget.se
Thanks to the always friendly staff and security at the club.
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