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Band of Skulls – Debaser Slussen, Stockholm, 2012-05-10

2012-05-11

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I’ve liked Band of Skulls ever since I heard them on WMMR while in New Jersey in May 2009. “I Know What I Am” is the perfect mix of The White Stripes-meets-a-full-backing-band. It would take three years until they finally decided to visit Sweden and I got the chance to see them live, but it was well worth the wait. It was the first time I got to see a band at Debaser Slussen, and it’s a tiny place. I would say that that it can’t have been more than a few hundred people there, and the place was packed! I managed to get a perfect spot front row center right after the opening act, Norwegian indie rockers Rumble in Rhodos left the stage. Rumble in Rhodos were really great, and I would love to see them headline at some point.

When the stage curtain opened again I found myself looking at Russell Marsden’s pedal board. Being a guitarist and guitar effects aficionado myself, it was quite interesting to see what pedals Russell had on his board. He seems to be quite fond of (or sponsored by?) Electro Harmonix, having both a Memory Man and a POG2 on his pedal board.

Band of Skulls opened with “Sweet Sour,” the title track from their second album, and the first thing that hit me was how loud they were. In recent years I’ve felt that the volume at concerts has been reduced considerably, but Band of Skulls really turned it up to 11. It was an awesome feeling to be in the front row and just feel the bass reverberating through my bones, and hearing the guitar straight from Russell’s amp rather than the PA.

Russell played a variety of Gretsch guitars, my favorite being his White Falcon, a guitar I’ve been partial to ever since seeing John Frusciante using it live for the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Otherside.” Since it was such a small venue you actually stood up against the stage, so when Russell would come up front to do a solo, his guitar would literally be inches from my face. Experiencing music in such an intimate setting is really special, and you get a great feel for how tight Band of Skulls are as a band. Bassist Emma Richardson and drummer Matt Hayward provide a totally solid rhythm section for Russell’s embellishments. Emma looked really cool in her cowboy boots and black jeans. I really like how Emma and Russell’s voices complement each other, both when they’re trading lyrics back and forth, and when Emma sings backup to Russell’s vocals.

I was really glad that the band played most songs from their debut album Baby Darling Doll Face Honey, since this was my first time seeing them. My favorite part of the concert was probably the last two songs of the main set when they played “Light of the Morning” and “Death By Diamonds and Pearls” back to back.

After the show a guy from the band’s stage crew came out on stage and handed out stuff to people up front, and I was lucky enough to get a drum skin signed by the entire band. There’s a picture of it in the set below. It was a great show that really exceeded any expectations I had beforehand, and left me wanting more. Like Russell said at one point “It’s our first time in Sweden, and hopefully not our last.”

Setlist:

Start: 22:02

01. Sweet Sour
02. Lies
03. Patterns
04. Fires
05. Bruises
06. Wanderluster
07. Cold Fame
08. Bomb
09. Blood
10. Lay My Head Down
11. Hollywood Bowl
12. I Know What I Am
13. You’re Not Pretty But You Got it Goin’ On
14. Light of the Morning
15. Death By Diamonds And Pearls

Encore:
16. The Devil Takes Care of His Own
17. Impossible

End: 23:30

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