Monday, February 11, 2013

Experiencing new grounds - A reflection

Summer 2012, or rather throughout 2012, I went to some concerts featuring music that I hadn't really been listening to at all prior 2012. The thing is that by this point I had actually got pretty fed up with going and seeing the music I listen to and work with, hard rock/metal that is, live because I always ended up a bit disappointed - Many of the old classic bands are great today, but still they were all better when I saw them back in the days and when it comes to all the new great bands, many of them awesome, there are always things missing, that just aren't there. When writing, playing and working with hard rock/metal music more or less 24-7, I'm really not that keen on seeing anything live that I can't feel 100%. Then also after going exclusively into hard rock/metal concerts for many, many years it might be time to explore some new territories, I mean before this I hadn't hardly ever been to anything but hard rock/metal concerts.

So I ended up experiencing a lot of, for me, different stuff that made a quite an impression on me:

- Became a huge fan after seeing Ryan Adams live. He performed all by himself with no other musicians or backing tracks or anything and it was so totally overwhelming. I hadn't heard anything by him prior seeing him perform and now I listen to his quite a few albums frequently - Great stuff, awesome musician and songwriter. Learned later that he's a metal dude, doing some great acoustic interpretations of some great metal tunes every now and then and when I saw him he ended the set with an awesome interpretation of an Alice In Chains tune. - so cool.

- Then I checked out First Aid Kit live and they really blew me away. Just the two sisters and a drummer. Again no backing tracks or sht like that - it was live and sounded so great. Strong material, great performance, so naturally yet with such confidence and strong attitude. Awesome.

- Another strong experience was Bruce Springsteen, who I have to admit I haven't spoken too well about through the years - but hey, if one stands live on stage and delivers 110% for four hours plus without a break, you simply can't slag him down. There was some serious super-tight jamming going on. Never seen a venue so packed and over sold out. It was really cool, an overwhelming and amazing experience and it made me realize that he really knows what he's doing - and it even got me to listen to and dig his debut album! Have to admit this turned me into a fan.

- Then I saw Lars Winnerbäck, who I didn't know anything about, except that he's pretty huge here in Sweden, at a totally packed Gröna Lund. It was awesome and the coolest thing was that he had one of my favorite musician/songwriter Nicke Andersson (Hellacopters, Imperial State Electric, The Solution, Entombed etc) on guitars in his band and also the keyboard player and the drummer from late Hellacopters - Cool surprise to say the least.

- I also saw Madonna which was so great. Too bad it wasn't completely sold out, which it should've been, this due to bad reviews of previous gigs, which leads me to a thing I need to bring up: As I understand she got bad reviews because she didn't play her hits and due to inadequate vocals - But I mean hey, she obviously sings herself, for real, without autotuners and sht like that, when I saw her the vocals sounded great, I mean she moves quite a bit on stage and has to breathe, right? - It was fkin live! When it comes to the other thing, it was the greatest thing not to need to hear all those worn out dinosaur songs and so great to see the political side of Madonna in the show, questioning society. I believe that's where the problem is, it's uncomfortable, media (and the audience who seems slaves under the media?) wants meaningless brain-dead bubblegum pop and this was fkin punk! 
  Another thing was that visually it was probably the coolest and best looking show I've ever seen, and I've seen quite a few.

- Around x-mas I was at Stor Kyrkan home in Stockholm and enjoyed Händels "Messiah" and that was a total blast. So awesome and mighty. No microphones, no PA, no speakers - but what power and what a sound! Totally loved it. I really enjoy all the levels, the depth, the dynamics and the tonal colors in this kind of music and I've listened quite a lot to it lately, plowing through all the greats in classical music.

Though this little excursion of last year I want to make clear that I'll never stop writing and playing, nor listening to, hard rock/metal music but off course this experiencing of new grounds has affected me and thereby also my writing and it'll be exiting to see (or hear) how it shows in my music the future.

/ PM Saari

(I'll be back here with some cool Saari News, METAL News, in a couple of weeks, so stay tuned.)