In Sweden, Göteborg is infamous for its tendency to enjoy puns. Many famous people from here sit in national TV and play with words in a way that nobody really appreciates outside Göteborg. Naturally then, Way Out West is an orgy in bad puns: Stay Out West (that’s what you do after the last band exits the stage and you go on clubbing), Way Out Fest (that’s what you do before the first band, when you’re in a park or a beer tent) No Way Out West (that’s what you do if you don’t go at all). At one point, a guy even made an attempt at a limerick about Mae West.
To the average Swede, Göteborg is known for puns and for one more thing. That thing took the stage at eight tonight, after the crowd had been building up in front of the stage for a full hour before Håkan Hellström made his comeback. And then nobody was disappointed. This was a very special gig, celebrating the 10 year anniversary of Håkan’s legendary debut album Känn Ingen Sorg För Mig Göteborg by playing the record in its entirety. Many of the songs had rarely been played live and, given the album’s huge impact on Swedish music, almost every song was known by heart by almost everyone listening. More than once, the crowd took over the song and made Håkan stunned and flattered because he didn’t have to sing himsfelf. In the last song’s crescendo, the place exploded in confetti, making a proper finale for this year’s biggest music happening in northern Europe.
Peaking with tomorrow’s highly anticipated performance by local hero Håkan Hellström, there are a lot of Swedish, and especially “Göteborgska”, artists at this year’s Way Out West. Friday night in Slottsskogen was however an international experience. After the amazing Soundtrack of Our Lives, accompanied by Göteborgs Symfoniker (LINK http://www.gso.se/) (but not with the Gallagher brothers, as the rumour had it), delivered a sparkling cross-over between pop tunes and classical music, there was not a Swede on the scene for the rest of the night.
But who has time for pseudo-nationalistic ideas when the line-up includes some of the world’s best musicians? Iggy Pop, for instance, showed that he is one of the world’s greatest entertainers still alive – even if the latter is against all odds. The Stooges were as tight as they were in 1970 and in a very non-Swedish act, Iggy at one point brought up a huge group of fans from the crowd, fighting resistance from the guards. They danced and co-sang with him during “Shake Appeal”. The act made the rest of the crowd, the ones still off-stage, go even wilder and the singer himself seemed to enjoy the power and didn’t exactly slow down after that.
Among the many other super acts to compete for our attention this evening, LCD Soundsystem made a lasting impression. The club/pop/electronic constellation from New York has been extremely influential during the last five years or so. Tonight’s show was a manifestation of why and the giant chandelier hanging from the scene roof made the listening experience interesting (Will it fall? Who will be killed?). Continue reading…
Yesterday’s euphoria and massive downpour are gone but not forgotten. The weather is clearing up just as the festival area opens its gates. Discussions about yesterday’s pregame night
are ubiquitous (”After we saw Harlem, we tried to go Port du Soleil but couldn’t get a cab in the rain so we just dropped in at some jazz bar where the owner allowed smoking indoors”) but the focus quickly shifts to the real deal: Way Out West – the proper, daylight version.
After the legendary hip hop-act Wu Tang Clan made 10,000 people wave their hands in one synchronized motion, the festival really felt officially alive and the lines to the beer tents exceeded 5 kilometers.
The general impression is that the visitors mainly come from all over Sweden. The downtown central station has been flooded with travelers on their way towards the festivities and now there are enough people at the area to make you think you’re in Tokyo. A lot of foreign visitors mixed with the native crowd; including them Hollywood stars such as Kirsten Dunst. Your correspondents took a stroll around the area, got our feet muddy and spoke to some people.
What’s the single best part of Way Out West, in your mind?
The concerts, hopefully. There are a lot of different stuff going on, but I feel the clubs and parties have to be secondary.
Famous even before its opening, Världskulturmuséet is a very special building. It was designed by world renowned architect Gert Wingård and opened officially in 2004. This year it has once again been included as one of Way Out West’s “club scenes”, meaning that after the last concert at the Slottsskogen area, we will all fight for entrance to the museum in order to stay awake all night and enjoy live acts and DJs. Before that, though, we had to try out the place on Thursday night’s “sneak preview” – one day before the actual festival started.
The night included three live acts, in addition to the resident DJ, and after running around six different bars we arrived at Världskulturmuséet just in time to see jj enter the stage. The crowd waiting for hours in line had to discover the hard way a bitter fact about Göteborg – once it starts raining, it never really stops…
Inside, it was hot, humid and crowded. Once JJ got on stage, the place went bananas and never came back. On big screens, everything from vacation pictures to Youtube clips of Zlatan was streamed and the crowd went nuts. Jj, being a local act, did all they were supposed to and delivered a dancy yet subtle performance. When they finished, the place was quickly emptied and the crowd shattered. Your correspondents left for Park Lane, one of the other club venues, and the night went on for a long, long time. And so did the epic rainfall, symbolizing Gothenburg. There’s not a dry pop soul in the city tonight. Some cried from jj, some couldn’t afford the tax ride home and had to walk.
There’s no big ceremony with balloons and fireworks, but the 2010 edition of Way Out West is now officially alive and kicking. The three day festival in Göteborg starts off with a club night that brings together all of the city’s bigger clubs as well as 25 different live acts, but the actual festival area does not open until tomorrow. Friday and Saturday are the major dates, when the city’s biggest park Slottsskogen will teem with hipsters, teens and tourists looking for a world class music event but of course also for a true west coast experience.
This long weekend in August is when Sweden’s second city shows itself from its best side, especially since its synchronization with Kulturkalaset , a citywide fiesta aimed at the crowd not so very interested in beer, loud music and muddy sneakers. The two events combined mean that Göteborg is turned into something very different for a while. The clubs and cafés stay open longer, the city squares are filled with improvising musicians and behind every apartment door there’s a party going on. Many hours before the festival schedule officially starts, the city is literally filled with music, as shown by this clip we just shot from Kungsgatan, one of the shopping streets normally not occupied by pop musicians:
The Explore West Sweden blog will be your confident guide during the next couple of days, providing concert reviews as well as interviews and vivid accounts of Way Out West’s beer and shellfish selections. Tonight we will sample the club night, taking place at 10 different venues around the city. Stay tuned!
Some of Sweden’s finest have been heading west to play some serious gigs… in kitchens. Yes, kitchens. Meet ‘In My Kitchen’, which was created with the idea of asking musicians to strip down their songs and then perform them in their kitchen, with the help of various utensils and anything else that comes to hand. The Casiokids recently performed and even cooked an omelet while at it! We were able to sit down with the Ryan and Tim from “In My Kitchen” to talk about inspiration, how this got started, and their future plans.
Who are you guys? How long have you lived in West Sweden?
Hi there, we are two English gents exiled in Gothenburg for various classified reasons, if we were to tell you we’d ave ta kill ya! However, we are allowed to divulge that Ryan is from Kettering, the underage pregnancy capital of Europe, and Tim is a current world record holder, and that’s the truth!
We’ve collectively lived in Sweden got five years and eleven months.
How did this whole concept come about? Whose apartment is it?
As we both had a background working with music, bands and club nights in England we wanted to do something to help promote the local music scene but were too lazy to leave the apartment during the Swedish winter. So we hit upon the idea of rather listening to CD’s over dinner, why not get bands to play live and, while they’re at it, cook for us. Really it’s the perfect crime! The kitchen belongs to two beloved friends, Johanna and Hjörtur whose apartment Ryan squatted in for three months in 2009. They run an online magazine (www.monthly.se) that Ryan also writes for.
Why the kitchen?
Ryan: Well to quote Tim: ’the kitchen is the heart of the home’, thus the best place for creativity.
Who was the first band? and how did you approach them?
The first band we got in touch with was Casiokids who are from Bergen in Norway. They were touring, we were big fans of their music, when we contacted them they were more than up for it and so the legend was born.
Which band has been the most innovative? how?
Well, there have been several innovative moments; Casiokids used a whisk on a cheese grater plus a large casserole dish for percussion, Love & Happiness used two glasses of water as a make do drum kit, but maybe we would have to say The Isolation would win the InMyKitchen Innovation Award with their home made amps and human mic stand (soon to be available to buy on our site).
Do you plan on parlaying this into anything more than just bands in your kitchen?
Well there was talk of trying to do our own version of Live Aid, but that’s still in the early planning stages, we’re just waiting for Bono to get back to us. We are hopefully going to be doing some stuff around a few festivals in Europe this summer, there has also been talk of making a car into a mobile oven, kind of like InMyKitchen on wheels, not unlike the Batmobile!? As well as a few more things that we are working on at the moment, I’m afraid we’re going to have to keep them under wraps for now though!
Which band has been your favorite? (we won’t tell, okay yes we will.)
We’re going to have to use the old cliché and say that they have all been really good, otherwise we wouldn’t have got in touch and asked them to play. Casiokids, our first step on the path to enlightenment, were really good and great guys, everyone should go and see them live! They popped our cherry so, as everyone knows, your first time is always the most memorable.
Winter is brutal. Which is why we focus on the positive, like the warmth of Summer, the unbelievable sunshine and the fast approaching Way Out West Festival this year! Yes, we realize August seems very far away; however, Way out West just announced some of their headliners and the show is bound to be epic. The headliners include Local Natives, an L.A. based band that has been making some serious waves. We absolutely love their single “Airplanes” a sweet love song about pining after love lost.
Also on the bill is the always high energy Brit pop star, La Roux, we recommend her song “Bulletproof” which feels like a ‘ just broke up with my significant other and I am fine’ anthem. The big players include LCD Soundsystem and indie veterans Pavement. Though the band we really, really, really CANNOT wait to see has to be The XX, the Lo-Fi pop four set took New York City by storm, playing to full houses of hipsters nationwide.We say early bird gets the worm, or the tickets, er? Either way, we’ll see you there.
When: Friday 13th and Saturday 14th August, with club performances from the evening of Thursday 12th until Saturday 14th Where: Slottsskogen city park in central Gothenburg.
Tickets: 1,390 Swedish crowns (£115) for a full two day festival pass including club performances. Ticket sales at Eventim: Telephone +46 771651000.