Millencolin

support Mob 47 + Andy The Band + Golvad Grävling
author PP date 30/09/21 venue Plan B, Malmö, SWE

It's the grand reopening in Sweden with Corona restrictions having been lifted at midnight. Millencolin immediately went ahead and took advantage of the return of live music by booking a trio of shows across the country: this one in Malmö, one in Gothenburg, and one in Stockholm for the weekend. Plan B has received some funding to book some larger shows going forward, so I imagine we'll be down here a lot in the coming months and years. It's situated near Malmö Persborg, so not optimal from the Copenhagen perspective transport-wise, in an area that feels a little sketchy especially given its vicinity to the area known for its gang troubles. It's a Berlin-type open hall with a bar towards the back, characterized by its DIY feel and punk rock underground ethos, despite serving food on a grill outside and having craft beers on tap inside. Its official capacity is 600, but tonight we're probably around half that given that the concert was only announced a week or two in advance. But first, let's talk about the warmup bands.

Golvad Grävling

First up is Golvad Grävling, a quintet whose average age can't be a day older than 18 by the looks of it. They literally look and sound like a high school band to start with, yet their energetic performance oozes of original punk rock spirit. That Plan B is virtually empty by the time they start their set doesn't seem to bother them. Their male vocalist is a flurry of energy, bouncing up and down, whilst their female guitarist shakes on stage as if she was having a seizure or something. They swap duties towards the end of the set, and she delivers an intriguing homage to the riot grrrl genre with her aggressive, coarsely screamed take on hardcore punk. Then, the primary vocalist appears to answer his mobile during the highlight moment of the show, saying he's in the middle of the set - just come on up to the stage, after which a pizza delivery man arrives through the crowd and delivers the pizza on stage. It's a fantastic moment where you're not 100% sure whether it's staged or not until the pizza dude starts screaming "Skalbaggelito" into the mic and the band's energy goes off the roof. This, my friends, is how to win new fans over by displaying an admirable spirit despite few people watching. Kudos.

Andy The Band

I've seen Andy The Band (feat Andy Dahlström of Satanic Surfers, Terrible Feelings) once before supporting Rise Against at KB a couple of years back. They were painstakingly mediocre back then, and not much has changed since then. The initial impression is always good, given the simplicity of their melodic punk rock sound and the sawed-off/headless instrument of Andy himself, lulling the listener into expecting a semi-decent punk set at the very least. However, Andy The Band's problem continues to be that their Beatsteaks-style songs are nothing saying at best, awfully average at worst. You find your mind wandering to completely other things especially since the band is mostly standing still on stage, where all of a sudden you wake up from a coma and 10 minutes have gone by without you having missed out on anything. In what feels almost like an identical set to the Rise Against one at KB, towards the end there's a single highlight of the crowd singing "wake up, time's up", but otherwise their material is so anonymous and nondescript it cannot be described as anything else than boring.

5

Mob 47

In contrast to Golvad Gävling earlier, hardcore punk veterans Mob 47 could effectively be their grandfathers if not their great grandfathers. They were formed in 1982 and only played their first show outside of Sweden in 2007, believe it or not. As you might imagine, if you're a hardcore punk band from that era, you're probably going to sound a hell of a lot like Discharge and D.R.I and other crossover/d-beat bands. And that is exactly how Mob 47 sounds like: they rip and tear through breakneck speed hardcore punk with considerable thrash influence in their riffs. Their vocals? Razor-sharp and ferocious. Overall, the expression feels like a steamroller steadily approaching you. It's an uncompromising, unadulterated soundscape that feels like it has urgency even at their age. Its relentless speed and rollicking riffs eventually win you over as the noisy wall of shredding lay you flat, leaving behind an impression of did they just play as fast as they fucking possibly could for 40 minutes straight?. Old school, ridiculous speed thrashing.

7

Millencolin

Usually, when Millencolin performs, they have a rather sizable banner depicting something off their latest album artwork. Not tonight. In line with the DIY vibes of Plan B and the impromptu scheduling of the show, their scene tonight is as barebone as it gets: just the instruments and the band themselves. It's been a year and a half since the previous Millencolin show in Sweden due to Corona, but tonight's the reopening night, and around 300 people are packed into Plan B ready mosh and circle pit the night away. And indeed, that is exactly what happens given that the band kicks things off with an incredible start to their setlist. "Egocentric Man" first loads up some energy into the venue, and then the duo of "Penguins & Polarbears" and "Bullion" encompass the venue into huge sing-alongs. Sure, the sound is horrible at this venue tonight, but judging by the mosh pit euphoria, people don't exactly care about that.

Millencolin has always been a band to feed off the audience's energy and almost completely shut down when there is none. Tonight, given the wild energy in the crowd, the band looks near their all-time best that I've seen. But then again, the selections for the setlist tonight are exactly what we were looking for. "Sense & Sensibility" continues the party, but it is "Fox" and "Twenty Two" that drive the crowd into a euphoric state of sing-alongs and circle pits all around. And with "Sour Days" and "Olympic" arriving in rapid-fire succession, the band are determined to keep the crowd dynamic going by just playing songs tightly as ever, displaying solid energy on stage in the process.

"The Ballad" is a predictable sing-along piece, but what surprises me is how well people continue to appreciate "True Brew". Here, the atmosphere can only be described as a huge party where everyone is singing along. The same continues for old classic "Lozin' Must" and "Nothing", with my personal favorite "Pepper" electrifying the crowd just in time for the skate punk classic, "Mr. Clean".

A quick encore and they are back to finish things off. "S.O.S", "Ray" and "Duckpond" are all great, but I wish they didn't play the all-Swedish "E20 Norr" that has been a feature on most of their sets in recent memory. In its place, I'd rather have "Material Boy" or perhaps a rarer track from "Life On A Plate". As expected, "No Cigar" closes the set with huge sing-alongs, and we can look back at an excellent show where Millencolin looks more alive on stage than they have in a long time. The crowd dynamic is brilliant, no doubt brought by the sublime setlist and the fact that the band mostly plays the songs straight with little interruption, Against Me! style.

Setlist:

  • 1. Egocentric Man
  • 2. Penguins & Polarbears
  • 3. Bullion
  • 4. Sense & Sensibility
  • 5. Fox
  • 6. Twenty Two
  • 7. Sour Days
  • 8. Olympic
  • 9. The Ballad
  • 10. Farewell My Hell
  • 11. True Brew
  • 12. Lozin' Must
  • 13. Nothing
  • 14. Pepper
  • 15. Mr. Clean
  • --Encore--
  • 16. SOS
  • 17. Ray
  • 18. Duckpond
  • 19. E20 Norr
  • 20. No Cigar

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