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Sunday 8 December 2019

Stockholm Syndrome

Kungens Män played a week long tour of small venues last week, starting in Glasgow and then heading south via Newcastle, Todmorden, Manchester, Bristol and then Chelmsford. On Wednesday I saw them play The Peer Hat in the Northern Quarter in Manchester, on a small stage in the basement of a bar tucked away down a side-street. Seeing such a good band close up in such a small venue was a cosmiche treat. Kungens Män have three guitarists- Mikael, Hans and Gustav-  lined up across the front of the tiny stage, kicking up a storm of FX driven guitars, three different parts, riffs, chords and lead lines complementing each other, circling around and building layers of noise. Drummer Matthias keeps a rocksteady motorik groove throughout and stage right Peter Erikson's table of synths and effects add texture and a psychey, space rock swirl. The second song is powered by a massive wah wah bass riff with the guitars piling on top, hitting the spot for well over ten minutes. For one song, well into the seventh or eight minute a saxophone is brought out and the skronky, free jazz floats and dives around the room. Finger cymbals announce the arrival of the final song, an ambient start soon overtaken by more dreamy, fired up, repetitive krautrock from Sweden. We get four (maybe five) songs in the hour they play, inventive, melodic and noisy, jams that have become something more focussed. A real joy to watch.

The sax playing guitarist with the shaven head entertains us between songs- he talks of it being a pleasure to be in the UK, ironically informing us that it is 'where krautrock began', tells tales of a Swedish radio DJ with a husky voice and later on introduces the band, cabaret style. He is unfailingly polite after the gig, selling merch from the table and ensuring I get my change for my purchase. All the band's members are friendly and happy to chat to members of the audience before and after the gig. Hopefully they can come back soon and play to slightly larger crowds. In 2016 they released Stockholm Maraton, a seven song space rock album but there are plenty of other albums at their Bandcamp site, any one of which is worth your time and trouble.


drew said...

what album did you buy?

Adam Turner said...

CHEF. Orange vinyl, a bit crackly disappointingly