years I was envious on the Londoners and New Yorkers. They could pic
and choose any classy band from any part of the world as
entertainment. Stockholm is starting to get a bit of that nowday´s,
a feeling of beeing where things happen. I didn´t go and see Black
Sabbath on last friday, because I wanted so see Topper again, reed my
gospel about them here. In true punk spirit they drag me into some
late night jamming from hell after the gig, hahaha, with singers like
me they don´t need enemies. On saturday there was one thing on the
schedule, Sham 69.
Sham 69 was one of the
single most important band for the development of the Streetpunk and
Oi! movement. Sprung out of the original wave of bands in the late
1970ies they were the band that wave the punk banner when most other
original bands turned into pop och post punk bands.
Unlike the Sex Pistols
and The Clash rather sophisticated punk rock, Sham didn´t do more
that put three chords together and in the chorus burst out in
football crowd chants like the football fans did on the teraces.
Mayby so, they came the true core of street punk much closer than the
Clash did, for instance, with its more and more sofisticated pop.
Today I find it hard to even think of a streetpunk and Oi! scene
without the Sham 69 seventies adventures. Because adventures it
seemed to be. Not only with the tension within the band as companion
when singer Jimmie Pursey often refused to go on long tours. Their
leftish, working class aproach didn´t only gathered the poor no
future kids and the outcasts in England. The ultra right wing party
National Front decided as well make them their band. At least turn
the Sham gigs into a platform for their nazi shit. The gigs turned
into riots and the career of the Sham 69 would never see the heights
that they deserved. Besides that, many chritics and trendy know
it all´s saw them as a vulgar hooligan band, not least in the
Swedish music papers, where Sham together with UK Subs and the
Exploited wasn´t given the same credit as other early punk bands.
Sham wasn´t for the trendies, it was the real deal.
football chants and underdog lyrics was the blueprint for the Oi!
Movement and are so still today.
I saw Sham 69 (Pursey
and some musicians) in the late 80ies where still the Swedish neo
nazi skinheads (aka Boneheads) did turn up like a clockwork or
Clockwork Orange gangs*. Just as the situation was when the band
broke up in the late 70ies. For some reason Jimmy Pursey decided to
be a rapper at the time and most of the gig was a musically
breakdown. Pursey´s fighting spirit held top class. Through the
whole show he mocked and humiliated the sieg heil skins so it must
hurt, even in the mind of some boneheads. I saw some skins cry like
babies afterwards, ripped out of an illusion that Sham 69 was their
band. A pissed off Pursey did not include the boneheads in their
anthem ” If The Kids Are United”.
The Neo Nazi skinheads are almost gone in Sweden now.
The ultra right wings have suits and being eager for power in the
parliment now, not wearing Dr Martens and braces. The new skins in
town are SHARPS, original or/and unpolitical*. So therefor the
wasn´t any core of Hitlerlovers infront of the stage as in 1988.
The crowd contained many familiar faces as well as others. Young
and old, everyone there to show our affection and love to the classic
band with their classic line up.
And possible was it the love
and good response that made the dear old ranting singer a bit pale
and numb in the beginning. Maybe he was so used to the animosity
infront of the stage, so he might needed some of that to get him
going? I don´t know, but when the security at the place did behave
like morons, then Pursey transformed from a man on the job into a
brilliant character and the true frontman of Sham 69. Was it a bit of
the old punk that came out of the shadows?
of all, it was hard to get tickets, it was hard to even get
information about the gig. It was poorly promoted. Possibly because
it was a bunch of punks trying to put together their anual punk
gathereing. Why on earth don´t people realize that punk legends
shall play at Debaser Medis or Fryshuset with its capacity, so that
more people can get tickets. On the other side it was cool to watch
the band on such a small stage. The place which I and many with me
never heard of before was way under the standards of the regular
clubs like Debaser or Strand. Enarena Globen was the name of it. If
you live in Stockholm you understand the ridiculous in that, if not,
we take that another time. The security seemed a bit taken of the
amount of people and the people itself. Shaken and stired. Inside,
the 2 bars were real fast in serving thirsty punks and skins. But
I got a bad feeling about it all, not least the time it took to get
all the people inside. And the bad feeling wasn´t wrong even if it
turned out to be the right thing for the gig in the end.
band went onstage, the crowd roared like a hungry beast, eager for
some Sham... Unfortionately didn´t the security guys understand
the basic concept of a punk gig and after a few songs they marched up
on stage to make it look like an old The Doors show (you know where
the worked up Jim Morrion having a go at the cops covering the
stage). For most of the gig I saw some beefy, scared bouncers, where
I should be seeing the bass player Dave Tregunna and Guitarist Dave
Parson. This was probably what Jimmy Pursey needed to be going.
It was hillarious to see the psychodrama that was going on between
the singer, the security and the front rows. For a moment I got the
feeling that it was going out of hand.
”They gonna cut
the power”, I tought, ”or there´s gonna bee a riot”,
In this hostile enviroment, Sham 69 where at their best. All of
the sudden I could see that they weren´t here for the money and
fame, They were the real deal.
After a while the security
staff seemed to be learning their lesson, there wasn´t any situation
going on, just a punk rock mosh pit having fun. Jumping and chanting
like every song was a part of our DNA, which it were, at least mine.
This time we all sang along ”If The Kids Are United” even
if a shitload of us were close to our 50ies and not kid´s anymore.
They should change the lyrics to the more accurate ”If The Drunks
Are United”. ”Bostal Breakout”, ”Hersham Boys”, ”Angels
With Dirty Faces”, ”Questions and Answers”....you name it. Most
classic tunes where there. Those five mentioned was, in my mind, the
Mr Pursey didn´t lost the opportunity to praise Olof
Palme, our murdered Prime Minister, our JFK. And praise Sweden and
Stockholm as one of the coolest places in the world. So the Stockwell
tune was suitable renamed Stockholm. I guess Tregunna felt good as
well with our response compared to when he played in Stockholm with
the Lords of The New Church in the 80ies when the crowd was legendary
Without the tension between the band and the boys
with security badges it would been like any other concert. They did
their songs, the crowd showed their affection and blah, blah, blah.
Now the band could show how they worked back in the days without
being sad nostalgia. Part of it because that their songs are still
vital and their political stance is as important in our days as it
was in the good old days. From where I stood (Jumped like a madman)
the sound was terrific and the moshpit kept me alive.
end the bouncers smiled a bit and possibly understood that this was
exactly like things should be.
Worth the money 300
SEK. Definately (I did go for free however, but would gladly have
paid for it)
Oh I forgot, there was another band as
support, Stilett, I didn´t see them and will give them a chance next
* Note Cicci
Rehnström Suurna´s documentary about the 80ies STHLM´s
**The Set List, the Anthology is the classic songs
rerecorded and released this year 2013.
Documentary shown on SVT (Swedish
Television) Tursday 21/11 2013
1986 the then young and
ambitious Swedish reporter Cicci Rehnström Suurna did make a
documentary about some young Skinheads in Stockholm. I saw it back
then, still with sad memories of the skinhead thing going to hell
(the far right). I knew, I been there, done that. In 86-88 Stockholm
was a divided city between Punks and Rockers and Hip Hoppers (called
Kickers at the time) and The Skinheads. I had no problem to talk to
them and I remember that Character Göran, and my todays Girlfriend
even was a hangaround. We knew that everyonee of them wasn´t nazis
as the media claimed. I think Cicci back then managed to see the
individuals cought in an extrem macho and violent style. Not some
Now 25 years later she want to know what ever did
happened to the guys, the movement etc. The movment today trying
the best to be originals, unpolitical and SHARPS. But still some
young guys and girls and some punks gather at the nation known
hangout, Helikopterplattan. In the end one of the more violent skins
in the documentary shows up and it turn out to be a Japanese tourist
photosession or something. ”We were there”, style! And in a
way both her films are a bit cute. Pakaging that violent young men as
cute nd lost young boys. Not just, but a bit. Even if the main theme
in the doku is ”Wheere are they now, what the hell became of the
once Sieg Heil skinheads.
Most of them did end up in
criminality and in jail. Some just fled the scene to become whatever
they beacame. Those guys didn´t want to take part in the film and
regret any involvement in the Skinhead movement. The two we got to
meet again, Göran and Kent, told their story, a story that continued
with drugs, holiganism and gangsterlife in the outlaw biker world.
Both of them tries to make sense in their everyday life and tries to
help out. Kent even work as a social worker, Göran co founded Exit,
a Nazi defector organissation that still works.
A cop that was
working at the scene then, trying to keep the ever coming minor
weekend riots, was telling his impressions. Those kids were so torn
inside, he comment.
I was on the other side
back then, and I think those boneheads did destroy the cool thing
about skinheads. I don´t host to many sympathies for them who helped
to fuck it up. But I can´t see why that Göran guy have to hate him
self as he seem to do still today as an ex junkie, ex con , ex
skinhead. But it is good to see that they feel a bit embarrased over
the right wing shit. The doku is a bit to cozy to be real good.
But as an document of the zeitgeist (both end of the 80ies and today)
it is OK. At least it tries to see the humans behind the boots. Not
just deliver the average media cliché.
Worth watching? A
bit, it was better than the other shit that the TV chanels are full
Some weeks ago I went
to a show that became impossble to write a review about. Im not that
happy little girl (that hates Robbie Williams) that wen´t to see
them Topper as in their song. More of a missarable son of a bitch or
something. I knew that I was in it for a treat when they announced
that there would be guest artists onstage like the former Sludge
Nation/Dear Majesty singer Jälevik and more.
On the other hand,
why did they invite guest singers when they are such a good band as
they are? Questions, questions, well I might would get some answers
if I went there.
Anyway they were on at the Snövits club
Probation at Södermalm in Stockholm. Together with Stiffy Jones. But
before I write about that I have tell the story from the beginning.
back the tape to Januari this year. To predict the future I claimed
that it would be an interessting year when all the good bands would
release a record. So did many of them do and there are still some
more weeks left for those who didn´t. But I know that Topper are
sceduled release their next full lenght album next year. But we might
get a single now*.
started with a concert that I instantly felt this was something
extra, Topper at Snövit Jan 26. Still I find it the best gig the
whole year, still ten month later. Still I get shivers from looking on the footage from my hand held camcorder from that event. Its energy, the energy that Topper is all about. They are not the most wild thing you seen, not the most crazy
you can run into. But there are some punk rock energy in it that is
hard to explain.
So I went there this October friday without
any illutions of ever feel close to any divinity that Topper have to
top to top themself at the same place. A couple of new songs (is that
really nessecary?) was to be expected and a couple of other guys
ocationally onstage. It was with mixed feelings I did go there.
Could they do anything than fail?
The other band went
onstage, Stiffy Jones, and was quite OK, but sorry guys I was waiting
for Topper that night. I´ll give you a real chance another day. The
same night was the good band Pastoratet on a Stockholm visit at
Broder Tuck as well the Swedish Fotball World Cup game against
Austria on in the same City. Not only 60 000 spectators at Friends
Arena but the whole nation glued at the TV sets. A bad day for a gig.
But I didn´t care, I was curious for whatever Topper would come up
with. Some clever guy that been helping out as a band driver as well
as tour manager for Topper as well as Ligisterna, aka Alph, made up a
logistic plan to manage to see Topper and the be just in time for
If there was a dramatic Fotball game on I didn´t
care, I was in for some Topper.
And when they
finally entered the stage, not as rock stars but as bunch of old men
still in they dayjob clothes, litterary changing their clothes
onstage into their Topper uniform, the black Topper shirts. Then it
was just some minutes left for the mayhem to break loose.
The Singer Jocke
started with some ranting adressed to Swedish filmaker Lukas
Moodysson that had premiere with his punk film (We Are The Best) the
same night, ”You haven´t done it for real, we have”. Then the
band burst into Punkrock revival. Where he pretty much waste all his
voice, then it was a hissing as screaming Jocke that still tried to
scream the little voice there was left out of his body. After first
number it was bowling time from the old single tune from the year
2000, ”Take the Skinheads & Homeboys Bowling”, that was the
moment when my embarkment start to burst. Then there was no hiding,
then it was an open sore that never seamed to heal. The crowd started
to move their feet ´till it went bananas. Little by little the
barriere between the crowd and the band vanished. The guest artist
was a part of it. If I ever was doubtful about them, I backed off. It
was a stroke of genius. Mr Jälevik seems to enjoy every minute of
it, while singing a Buzzcock tune with a growling voice.
The Trobbing bass
guitar with its steady boom, boom boom, was the ground where their
power came from. Matched with the hard drumbeating, drums that seems
like taking more hard hits than any punchdrunk old boxer. The Steve
Jonesy guitar licks and powercords worked out of an eager to be the
best band there is, was taking the band further than mediocrazy. On
top of it, the angry, ranting singing that comes from a madman singer
that seems to be everywhere and nowhere at once, both in mind and in
in the physical space, that was Topper, that is Topper!
It is quite alot of
Clash, Stiff Little Fingers and Sex Pistols but enough of Jocke to
make them a band on their own.
I´ve seen great international
Punk Rock stars the last two years, very few would put them Topper
behind themself in my toplist. Infact it is only Rancid and Street
Dogs that can compeate. Stiff Little Fingers, Social Distortion, Iggy
and The Stooges, Bad Religion,Dropkick Murphys and Turbonegro didn´t
made me go bananas like I did at Snövit, for the second time this
year. Even the Swedish pride of Asta Kask and Alonzo Fas 3 can´t
match Topper a night like this.
Despite the rather dull cellar
club sound that is standard at Stockholms cellar punk clubs, despite
that there was no voice left in the singer, despite the whole country
was watching football they managed to change the odds. They were
fighting the fight any good band would do, fighting and winning. They
didn´t seem to worry too much about it. The tapping of drumsticks
1,2,3,4 and the next tune is on and the band carries on.
was no more a bloke with a blog that might write a review about it. I
was a blob, an amoeba that lost every aspec of...whatever I lost.
Dignity I lost a long time ago in a Galaxy far far away.
”Of She goes”,
cries the pogoing crowd together with the guest singer Eas Tiljander.
Then ”Robbie Dies” at least as everyone went on chanting that
together like we never done anything else as the end of the ”Off
she goes” goes. Imagine Topper and the crowd do the same at
At the end of their set the voice of the
main singer was finished, so I an a few blokes grabed the microphones
and gave him a hand (voice). We declare that ”we live in the
Suburbs, 7 days a week”. The thin line between the band and the
crowd was then diminished as it is supposed to be when punk comes
true. I think I understand how religion once came into the life of
the cavemen. It must been just like a night like this. So I don´t
write a review, I write a gospel.
To talk about entrance
fees such a night feels puny but whatever I did pay it was way too
But the night
didn´t ended there.
Pastorate) is a band from the towns of Tibro and Skövde in the
Vastergötland province, (the real Gotaland, not like it is in that
HBO fantasy fiction TV series ”Vikings). And the gig was held at
Broder Tuck in the same area. We, Ligisterna and I went to see them.
And we were pretty much the ones that did. I felt a bit bad about it
because how could they even be a fraction of as good as Topper that
night? And in that basement club Dislocated with its bad sound.
However, they did. Actually they did have a rather good, thick and
heavy sound. And singer of Pastoratet Goran´s clear and soft voice
mixed with some screaming did cut throught the sound barrier that is
the sound of the band. Their songs felt like home and often the
lyrics is a bit like being in a domestic argument. Afterwards I tried
to find out who the song ”Stick din lilla diva” was about. But I
rather should try to prove Einstein wrong instead, because there was
no answer to get.
That the band even got my attention after
Topper is remarcable, that they even got me going as well is
astonishing. That good was their effort to get us, the few that was
in the crowd going. And we got it going. I hope that they will come
back soon, another time, when there is no punk film premiere, no
fotball game and no Topper mayhem at the same time. But Im very
pleased I gave them a chance because they perfected an alredy perfect
gig night. I went home almost stonedeaf for two days. But that it was
Worth the Money? Yes.
Tonight Topper go on
the Snövit stage for the third time 2013, I will see them for the
forth time this year, will they still go for that magic moments or
will they not.
Topper will release a single in the end of
December 2013 and the album 2014.