During the Swedish winter, it's important to find a balance between the time spent in the stifling confines inside and the freezing environs outside. One approach is to take in any of the many live music shows taking place around Sweden on almost any given night, especially in the country's larger cities.
Below is a sampling of twenty shows to be found in Sweden this winter, at least one of which can hopefully help you find that perfect balance of coolness and warmth to help make it through the long Swedish winter.
December 3rd (Debaser, Stockholm)
December 4th (Brew House, Gothenburg)
The sound of Ladytron is best defined as the sound of the 21st century – groovy and warm, but yet somewhat alienated and obscure – a perfect combination for kicking off the winter season in a contemporary feel. Expect a rowdy wild time, that will leave your head spinning the day after.
December 4th (Globen, Stockholm)
What to say. Everything that can be said about Sir Elton has been said, so maybe it's best to let his piano to do the talking. This won't be just some garden variety show – it's a part of John's "Red Piano" tour, which means his keyboard will be accompanied by a video-art/multimedia attack on the senses designed by artist David LaChapelle. So if Sir Elton's hits weren't enough, now you've another good reason to head over to Globen.
Buena Vista Social Club Presents: Eliades Ochoa
December 5th (Sodra Teatren, Stockholm)
While not exactly the same band that was portrayed in the famous film by Wim Wenders, it still comes pretty close. And what can get you more sweaty and energized than authentic, sensuous, hip-shaking Cuban music?
December 6th (Konserthuset, Stockholm)
December 7th (Vara Konserthuset, Vara)
December 8th (Konserthuset, Gothenburg)
Hancock may be best-known for his 1980s hit, "Rockit", the groundbreaking number which introduced scratching as a legitimate musical tool and featured an equally innovative video. However, Hancock is first and foremost a living jazz legend and a musician who has never stopped evolving. No true music fan, let alone jazz enthusiast, would pass up the chance to see an artist of his calibre as he tours across Sweden.
December 8th (Cirkus, Stockholm)
A couple of years ago, Pharrel Williams was one of the hottest musician/producers in the world. His magical aura might have faded a bit, but his main musical vehicle is still intriguing with its wild eclectic mix, especially in its energetic live shows.
December 13th (Brew House, Gothenburg)
December 17th and 18th (Debaser, Stockholm)
Stockholm's own metal legends haven't stopped testing their own musical limits in nearly 20 years of working together. Celebrated all over the world as one of the most intelligent-yet-heavy-as-hell bands in metal, their homecoming shows are sure to offer a little something extra on top of what is sure to be a already fantastic performance.
Date: December 14th (Fryshuset, Stockholm)
Neil hasn't really done much since the end of the 1980's, and even then he was probably more known for his off-stage shenanigans than his vocal abilities. But it doesn't matter much now – he is still one of the best performers out there, and his live show will be packed with sleazy, hair-metal hits that'll get even the most sarcastic bystander hooked.
December 3rd (Skandiateatern, Norrkoping)
December 4th (Sigurdsgatan 25, Vasteras)
December 9th (Stenhammarsalen, Gothenburg)
December 10th (Debaser, Malmö)
If you are one of those people who like to say they were there before the big boom, you should run and get your Abalone Dots tickets now. This band has the potential to take over the world, with their sweet-yet-melancholic country-pop/rock (and incredible good-looks) it really is just a matter of time.
December 13th (Konserthuset – Stenhammarsalen, Gothenburg)
December 14th (Berns, Stockholm)
Naim had a major hit in the US with her song "New Soul", but the young French/Israeli singer/songwriter has a lot more to offer than just that one song – she is a dedicated musician, and so her performance – together with creative-partner David Donatien – should be of the highest standard.
December 16th (Hovet, Stockholm)
December 17th (Scandinavium, Gothenburg)
David Coverdale is almost 60 and already has two grandchildren, but word has it that he still has the same pipes that made him one of rocks biggest stars. As always, his backing musicians are the crème-de la-crème at their respective instruments, and thus Whitesnake offers the complete live package – hits, musicianship, retro, and raw energy.
January 10th (Trädgår´n, Gothenburg)
January 11th (Berns, Stockholm – two sets)
The current Stranglers line-up is just one member short of the classical one, and that means that even though the smell of "milking it" is still in the air, this show should be quite enjoyable. The Stranglers didn't just write hits, they wrote timeless songs which, when performed live, could prove to be real tear-jerkers.
January 22nd (Debaser Medis, Stockholm)
January 23rd (Karlsholme Folkets Park, Mariestad)
January 24th (Brew House, Gothenburg)
The Rasmus is one of Finland's most successful musical exports ever, especially considering they aren't a metal band. The Rasmus are still riding high on the hype that surrounded them about five years ago. Their live show should be one of the most energetic and bounce-inducing shows of the winter, even if its intended mostly for teenagers – in age or in spirit.
January 24th(Mejeriet, Lund)
January 25th (Fryshuset, Stockholm)
January 26th (Trädgår´n, Gothenburg)
Yet another Finnish export, Lordi gained the attention of the world after winning the Eurovision Song Contest. With their elaborate costumes and stage design, Lordi should please both metal-heads and theatrical-rock enthusiasts, although Eurovision fans might actually find this show a bit too much. But the band's quirky appeal shows that it can win over even the most traditional of crowds.
January 25th (Scandinavium, Gothenburg)
January 28th (Globen, Stockholm)
The notorious Gallagher brothers are still going strong – their latest album, "Dig Out Your Soul", has garnered great reviews, so odds are their live show won't be just a blast-from-the-90's-past. In addition to old hits such as Wonderwall, Live Forever etc., fans can also expect to hear quite a bit of the new and acclaimed material.
February 10th through April 2nd (Judiska Teatern, Stockholm)
For those who are looking for a more intellectual, artistic and melancholy act, this live show promises to be one of the most groundbreaking events of the coming winter. Pia Forsgren took Steve Reich's incredibly celebrated and much discussed composition, and created a whole theatrical performance surrounding it. The performance is said to be so powerful that it would appeal not only to avant-garde lovers, but to anyone with an open mind and ear.
February 6th (Trädgår´n, Gothenburg)
February 7th (Kulturbolaget, Malmö)
The incredibly eclectic and astoundingly entertaining French musician seems like he can do no wrong. Taking elements from…well, anything and everything, Tellier is definitely one of the most intriguing musicians in the world today, and his live show should not be missed.
The Soundtrack of Our Lives
On tour January and February (several locations throughout Sweden)
Another highly successful international export from Sweden, TSOOL are coming back to rock the pants off the fans back in their home country. Their intelligent indie-pop-rock is both moving and energizing, just the kind of music that sounds even better live than it does on album.
February 22nd (Nalen, Stockholm)
Perry's hit, "I Kissed a Girl", might cause many to shrug her off as a purveyor of over-played pop. But Perry is much more than a one-hit, teenie-pop wonder: she's an excellent singer with a distinct voice and a fresh attitude which makes her more interesting than your regular one-hit-wonder-pop-star.
March 17th (Cirkus, Stockholm)
As the end of the winter approaches, we come to the classiest of the lot, as the former leader of the legendary Talking Heads gets set to take the stage in Stockholm. In 2008 Byrne released a highly anticipated album along with legendary producer Brian Eno. During live shows, Byrne re-invents the tiniest of details in every song so you get both the pleasure of hearing an endless stream of classics as well as a taste of his still wonderfully boundless creativity.
By Omri Grinberg