The Swedish eight-piece start with their backs to the audience, playing an eerie, quiet beginning that gives way to dashing folk. And away the band goes, with accordion and violin soaring over the riffs of acoustic guitar and tambura (a mandolin-esque instrument) as saxophone and trombone fight back. The second features an almost surf rock rhythm with the melody led by trombone and saxophone. It also features effortless dueling solos by guitar and sax that meld back in seamlessly. The band cuts suave figures on stage, featuring collared shirts, top hats and waistcoats that disappear as the set goes on.
Its not just about the instruments as the band show off a deep baritone chorus that briefly passes into a slow passage of acoustic guitar before descending back into folk pandemonium, with the accordion literally dueling every other instrument in the band in sequence. The band’s relentless energy abates for moment, with a sultry trombone introduction into a more funky number. It’s the band’s fourth time in Japan and already their third gig at this Fuji Rock alone (they’re slated to play a ridiculous number of shows, almost twelve), and so there’s more than a few fans on the audience.
This is shown by the crowd obeying the band to perform a ring dance to sedate folk that gives way to a circle pit as the band ramps up in energy. Sweden is such a metal country that even their folk musicians have circle pits. A slow mournful waltz follows but the folk onslaught soon continues. Guests are also invited on stage, in the form of the two members of Charan Po Rantan. It’s a strange sight with shirtless Swedish men and two Japanese girls in fairytale costumes but they have fun together, with one of the girl even riding the shoulders of the biggest member of the band.
The guests leave the stage as the next song begins, which starts beguilingly with a Mediterranean melody as one of the member starts a circus juggling act while hula hooping as the sound becomes increasingly sultry. The last song ends with a short sharp explosive climax that leaves the crowd begging for more. And somehow, they get their wishes granted. With two minutes left on the clock, the band manages to sneak a seven-minute song in with the blessing of the MC, a giant singalong with the crowd that the audience continues even as the band takes their leave with heartfelt thanks from both sides.
Text by Matthew Evans, Photo by JulenPhoto
Posted on 2015.7.25 14:09