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Thursday, June 21, 2007

The Hultsfred Report: Day Three

The third and final day of Hultsfred was really devoted to one act and one act only… The Ark (as if you really needed to guess). But, more on that later. Saturday was the day where the rain finally showed up and absolutely dumped on us all night. My hoodie, of course, was not waterproof. Luckily, my tent was.

Lisa Miskovsky

While I like a lot of Miskovsky’s songs, her middle of the road country pop wasn’t something that I was necessarily chomping at the bit to see performed live. And, as expected, the performance was good, but far from amazing. The singles and songs I knew were by far the best of the show, but everything else was pleasant enough. Miskovsky seemed to be having a good time, and that was enough for the crowd.
Best bit: Mary
Rating: ÅŽ

Fibes, Oh Fibes!

Despite really liking their singles, I just didn’t get this performance at all. The band performed in front of a large screen that showed a bizarre discovery channel type video of animals and nature shots. It didn’t go with the music at all, which, besides the singles, was really quite boring. I was happy to get out of the rain, as this event was located under a tent, but I ended up leaving early out of boredom.
Best bit: Can’t Be So
Rating: Ž


Despite hearing a lot about this band all over the internet, I actually didn’t know any of their songs. I really enjoyed their brand of cold electro pop, though, and it fit the rainy weather perfectly. The three girls walked on stage dressed in black leather and worked through their set in a very workmanlike, cold manner. It wasn’t off-putting at all, actually, and the thumping beats were a nice change from the acts earlier in the day. Some of their stuff was way too repetitive for my tastes, but all in all I think they earned a new fan in me.
Best bit: Lights Go Out, a very Goldfrapp-ish number
Rating: ÅÅÅ

Manic Street Preachers

I hate to admit that I’m only a new MSP fan, even though they’ve been around forever. In all fairness, they’ve never been very big in America, so there is a reason for my ignorance. Anyway, I’ve been loving their new album Send Away The Tigers, for the past few weeks, so I was excited to see them play. And, they were amazing live. I mean, it was pure, perfect rock and roll, oozing from every chord and drum beat. James Dean Bradfield sounded amazing live and the rest of the band was just as good. Plus, as a surprise bonus, Nina Persson (from the Cardigans) arrived onstage to duet with them on their newest single, Your Love Is Not Enough
Best bit: Your Love Is Not Enough
Rating: ÅÅÅŽ

Bobby Baby

Like Steso Songs the day before, Bobby Baby is a girl singer that plays minimalist piano/keyboard-based music. I enjoyed her show a bit more than Steso’s, though, mainly I think because she had a band behind her (though they were hardly like any other band). The drummer/guitarist/whatever-needed-playing-ist wore a bear suit (I was kind of jealous because I bet he was warm) and the keyboardist occasionally would walk over and throw glitter on her fellow bandmates. What is it with these Swedes and glitter? Still, although none of Bobby Baby’s songs really floored me, I was endlessly entertained by the performers’ seeming innocence and glee.
Best bit: Ten Years From Now
Rating: ÅÅÅ

Pet Shop Boys

Pet Shop Boys were the last to play and by the time their set began (1:00AM) it was absolutely pouring. I mean, buckets of water were drenching us. Luckily, I was front and center, squeezed between people to keep warm. Although PSB are not the most amazing live act around (they’re more of a studio group), they didn’t disappoint. They played most of their old hits and a lot of stuff from their newest album as well. Flanked by two complimentary dressed dancers, Neil Tenant was pure camp. Their stage light show was also pretty impressive, twinkling in the rain like some insane carnival ride.
Best bit: Can You Forgive Her?
Rating: ÅÅÅÅ

The Ark

So here it is folks, the Ark’s coronation… and the gig of my life. Headlining Hultsfred has got to be the biggest concert the group has ever done. Performing in front of thousands, the band put on the most energetic, theatrical and brilliant show I’ve ever seen. Ola was on fire, proving that he is the performer of my generation. It was really like seeing Queen at their prime, and you can’t argue unless you’ve seen this band live. Rattling through all of their hits with little time left for stuff off their new album (only New Pollution was played other than the three singles), the band was unstoppable. Ola brought out a harmonica for Clamour For Glamour, broke down into a bit of Pet Shop Boys’ Being Boring in the middle of One Of Us is Gonna Die Young, and transformed early anthem It Takes A Fool To Remain Sane into a slow building, epic sing-along. There were three costume changes, the first being my favorite, and a wicked Jepson guitar solo where he wore out his fingers until he had to gnaw on the thing with his teeth. Best of all, though, was the finale of Calleth You, Cometh I, the most life-affirming and breathtaking live experience I’ve ever had. Having seen The Ark live before, I knew that they always close with this track and turn it into an extended, fists in the air singalong, but tonight was different. In front of such an enormous crowd (where, this being Sweden, everyone knew the words to all their songs), the chorus of voices was unbelievably powerful. And, perhaps as a nod of support and friendship, Ola invited Pikko (remember her from day one?) and her band onstage to help sing along. It was rock music at its most powerful, and I left wiping tears from my eyes. I’m beginning to fear, after Eurovision, that The Ark may never find the global success that they deserve, but at least they had this night… a night where it truly felt like they ruled the world.
Best bit: Calleth You, Cometh I
Rating: ÅÅÅÅÅ+

Other acts I managed to catch a few songs by:
Säkert - I like Hello Saferide better, but this was pleasant enough
Evanescence - I’ve really fallen out with them, but I was impressed with the songs I liked
Turbonegro - Quite freaky, fat, hairy, and (presumably) smelly
The Blood Brothers - Far and away the worst band I saw at the festival…. unlistenable

(all photos courtesy of, who covered the whole festival)

Tomorrow I'll have all the details of the day after!!


Blogger Paul said...

there is a day after?! i bet you were on overload from The Ark (whose album i now can't stop playing, damn you :P) - great write up! Oh and i've been checking out the acts you've been posting about in between too, nice choices :)

10:21 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Yes, it was like drinking 7000 red bulls at once. I don't even think I felt the rain as it hit me after that show.

1:25 AM  

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