Thursday, March 15, 2007
At the check-in gate of a Swedish airport, I'm From Barcelona's Jacob realises that he has forgotten his passport and would have to tell his friends to party on without him in Dublin. Later that day - under lashings of coloured confetti and balloons - Emanual "Wayne Coyne Jr." Lundgren calls him on speakerphone to find out if any way of spending an evening could possibly beat THIS. "What are you doing? Are you watching Seinfeld?!", he asks. The following night, Annika of Hello Saferide sings a song which functions as a questionaire for prospective boyfriends to answer. It is apparant that a certain TV show is of considerable importance to Annika as she quizzes her would-be suitors by singing "do you talk in the middle of Seinfeld?". So having seen five Swedish bands over two nights, is the only thing we've learnt about the country the fact that they all love Seinfeld? No. It is also apparant that every Swedish person - without exception - is a musical genius.
Salem Al-Fakir is a superstar back in his homeland. We know this because he keeps cheekily reminding us. "This song is a big hit in Sweden so when I play it live, people applaud when they recognise it. You should do the same!". The crowd doesn't need much prompting when the songs are as good as Dream Girl and This Is Who I Am, and the frontman veers between expertly playing the piano with a wild grin and jumping into the audience to shake hands with the front row. According to Salem, he doesn't actually listen to music and is entirely influence-free, so it is just a happy coincidence that his tunes come somewhere between the classic guilty pop of Leo Sayer and the more eccentric and modern stylings of Patrick Wolf.
Taxi, Taxi! are the most charming and entrancing band of the festival, quietly delivering their well-crafted heartstopping tunes over piano, accordion, guitar and ukulele to a completely hushed and awe-struck crowd.
I'm From Barcelona make no excuses for being a novelty band, because they are quite simply the best novelty band in the world. It can be difficult to listen to their entire debut in one sitting but the live show is the easiest thing in the world. Delivering a euphoria which seems to be exclusive to just a handful of bands (The Polyphonic Spree, Arcade Fire, Flaming Lips and The Spinto Band, I think!), the evening is filled with throwaway chants ("I have built a treehouse/I have built a treehouse/Nobody can see us/Cos it's a you-and-me house") and never-ending choruses. Two new songs prove that there is actually life beyond Let Me Introduce My Friends, although it doesn't look like the band is going to be getting serious anytime soon. One song features the lyric "Does anybody really care that good old Britney shaved her hair?" and the other is introduced with the statement "I robbed this one from Justin Timberlake". The song's riff is from Cry Me A River. But even if their set was made up of *NSync covers, it'd all be forgiveable when they play the fabulously communal We're From Barcelona after a brilliantly teasing minute-long intro. When they finally transform that repeated note into the song's riff, everything in the world swirls and 700 people are catapulted into the eclipsed moon outside.
They're that good.
I'm From Barcelona - We're From Barcelona
Hello Saferide - The Quiz
Taxi, Taxi! - Old Big Trees
Moneybrother - Reconsider Me
I'm From Barcelona
Thoughts by Bobby. What time? 3:09 pm