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Author Topic: Nordic appetizer and dessert  (Read 5198 times)
Ron
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« on: April 22, 2013, 04:00:14 PM »

So not long before my date with Celtic Woman in Chattanooga, I came across this all female, Swedish hard rock group: Crucified Barbara. Come to find out, they were actually playing Atlanta the night before the CW concert. At $15 a head, I couldn’t turn it down so I got a ticket. Three days later, they announced they were adding a date two nights later in Gainesville, the same day I’d be passing through on the way home. Hey, why not.

The Band:

The band was formed in ’98 and has only had one line up change since, and that was the departure of a vocalist and one of the guitarists taking over vocal duties.

The line up is as follows:

Mia Karlsson “Mia Coldheart” – Lead Vocals/Guitar



Klara Rönnqvist Fors “Klara Force” – Guitar/Backing Vocals



Ida Stenbacka “Ida Evileye” – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals



Jannicke Lindström “Nicki Wicked” – Drums/Backing Vocals




Now most people would assume: “It’s obvious why he likes them. They’re beautiful ladies and he’s a guy!” I do admit, my male mind does tend to give them a classification: Ida is the alluring bombshell, Klara the “girl next door”, Nicki is the adorable one, and Mia is that cool girl you knew in high school who could hang with the guys; a cool chick to hang out with. And I did get to hang out with her. But more on that later.

What I want to do is move beyond the testosterone driven stereotypes and focus on what they bring musically. One question interviewers ask that the girls hate is “What is it like to be women in such a male dominated genre?” Their response is “We have no idea because we don’t know what it’s like to be men in such a male dominated genre”.  Instead, I want to address a more important question: “What do they, as women, bring to the genre?”

Back in my day, female involvement in hard rock/heavy metal was almost nonexistent (sure, there were a handful, but they were rare). Over the last fifteen years or so, we’ve seen an influx from female fronted bands such as Evanessence and Halestorm, to female instrumentalists such as Orianthi Panagaris and Jen Ledger, to all girl bands such as CB, Phantom Blue and Indica. What I notice about these examples is their approach to writing music. In the male bands, the music is very ego driven. This is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s what makes the genre the aggressive, viscereal appeal that it is. But women tend to write more for the song as opposed to the guys who tend to write more with “Hey, check out what I can do. I kick ass!” in mind. It’s less about being flashy and more about what adds to the song, which brings me to the next section.

The Music:

In most bands where there’s a singer who also plays guitar, it’s usually a case where you have a singer who knows a few chords and can back up the lead guitarist on rhythm. The lead guitarist is one who focused on guitar skills, but can carry a tune vocally, and with practice, can harmonize with the lead singer. CB is unusual in that Mia handles both lead vocals and the lead guitar breaks. This came about because Mia was initially recruited by founders Klara and Ida as lead guitarist because of her playing skills. The early incarnation of the band had a separate lead singer. She soon departed and Mia was drafted to handle lead vocal duties as well as she grew up singing in her church choir (that must have been an interesting sounding service). But make no mistake, Klara is no slouch on the strings. In many cases with duel guitar bands, the two guitarists play the same thing to make it sound “bigger”. In the case of CB, while Mia’s playing “power chords”, Klara adds a counter riff behind her. I’ll include a link of a live clip from a show a couple of years ago in Berlin to illustrate this. If you can listen to it on headphones, Klara’s guitar is on the right, Mia’s on the left. You can hear the two parts. But when you listen on a decent set of speakers, the effect is that it adds groove as well as power to the song. This is what I was getting at earlier as it’s not about who’s the most “badass”, but about what works for the song and makes it sound better. But make no mistake, they still approach performing with the same aggressive attitude as their male counter parts. Bass players take note. Ida uses the fingers of her right hand as opposed to a pick. And she doesn’t just stick to the root behind the guitars. She’s constantly using the transition notes to add to the groove, reminiscent of Black Sabbath’s Geezer Butler (but way cuter).  In addition to having the responsibility of keeping a solid rhythm, Nicki is also the primary backing vocalist, handling the more intricate harmonization with Mia. In other songs (“Rock me like the Devil” for example) I’ve heard her seamlessly change the groove for various parts of the song. She’s not just a pretty face behind the drums. She knows what she’s doing!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4G2IGBCpuO0 

The Shows:

The Atlanta show was held at The Masquerade, a rather elaborate club with a very gothic, castle like feel. The pit in front of the stage was about chest high to the average person standing. No seating at the stage area, though there were booths further back in the club (you'd have loved it Mike, Wink ). At the winged areas on either side were raised areas two feet higher than the stage where you could stand and watch and actually gave an incredible view.  There were three bands on the tour. First on the bill was Canadian based Snakeskyn Whiskey, followed by CB, and Crashdiet finishing up the evening, both from Sweden. Due to ever present Atlanta construction, I arrived late and made it there about halfway through Snakeskyn Whiskey’s set. All the people at the very front of the stage were either big guys or hot chicks. Since I’m neither, I figured I was better off on the raised wings and I could get better performance photos anyway. Once Snakeskyn Whiskey was done, I ran into Klara and Ida having a quick last smoke under the dressing room stairwell before they were to take the stage. I said a brief hello and then it was time for them to rock! They performed fantastically! They were much tighter than older live videos I had seen and Mia’s lead breaks were much cleaner and more articulate, evidence of hard work and extensive touring. I really wanted to meet Mia because she had been so responsive to me on twitter. When they finished their set, I made my way to the area where I had encountered Klara and Ida before, but the girls were nowhere to be found. As I started to walk away, in comes Nicki. She walked behind the drums to retrieve something then left to make way for Crashdiet to take the stage. As she left I was able to shake her hand and congratulate her on a great performance, then she was gone. I walked back to the bar area, but kept peering down the hallway just in case. As luck would have it, I saw Mia standing in the doorway that leads out to the busses. She was talking to someone outside. I hurried down and as it turned out she was with the other girls. I shook her hand, congratulated her on the show and introduced myself as Ron Foster “Snakewhisperer3” (my twitter name). She said “Oh it’s you, Hi! We’re going to the dressing room to freshen up. Will you be hanging around?" I gave an affirmative and they were off again. I made my way back to my wing to watch Crashdiet, not sure they would come back out but thinking at least I got to meet them. Half way through Crashdiet’s set, nature called and I made my way to the bathroom. On my way back, as I was walking down the stage left wing, someone grabbed me by the arm and pulled me to the railing. It was Mia! She raised her beer in a “cheers” gesture to which I obliged and we hung out, watching the remainder of Crashdiet’s set together.

Any fears that I wouldn’t meet the girls were grossly unfounded as evidenced when Crashdiet finished. The house lights went up, the house music was brought down to conversation level, and ALL band members came out to the bar, drank beer, and mingled with their fans while signing autographs and taking photos. Now THAT, my friends, is a Meet & Greet! Now I used to do the same thing back when I played. But I was just in a local bar band. I wouldn’t have expected it with internationally touring bands! Very Cool!!! And great for the venue too! With having three hard rock bands plus all their fans, I’m sure they sold A LOT of beer!

The Gainesville show was at the Backstage lounge. In contrast to Atlanta, this place was a dive! It was split into two rooms; a bar, and a stage area. Anyone could go in and out of the bar. But to go into the stage room, you paid a cover charge and got stamped. One thing that did make this night kind of special was that Steph was driving up from Deltona to meet me. This would be the first rock show we’d attended together since we were dating in ’89. We were sitting in one of the “booths” (if you could call it that) watching Snakeskyn Whiskey play when Mia came in from the bar room and stood in the pit area to support her tour mates. I decided to turn the tables on her. I walked up behind her and put my hand on her shoulder. She turned around, and when she saw me, she gave me an enthusiastic hug (which did elicit a “look” from Steph). When CB took the stage, I decided this time I’d stand in the pit in front of the stage. I got right in front of Klara. Talk about interactions! These weren’t interactions, she was flirting with me! During the song “Rock me Like the Devil” where she’s singing the back up line in the chorus “you turn me to eleven, leave me burning when you’re done” she looked at me with those Nordic blue eyes, raised her eyebrows, and gave me a seductive look, followed by that cute “girl next door” smile.  Odo's Bucket

The night ended the same way with band members mingling with the patrons. We took the opportunity to take photos. At one point, I was coming out of the bathroom and Mia and Steph were engaged in girl talk. I guess the hug was forgiven. LOL. Actually, the "look" was in jest. She gets it. She's cool like that. We bought some merchandise and had a pleasant time with the bands. Mia's stage name definitely does not fit her! She's very interactive with her fans both online and in person!

They're talking about coming back in the fall. If you dig the rock 'n' roll, and they come to your area, I highly recommend it! One thing of note though. We all remark whenever an interviewer pronounces Mairead's name wrong. If you should meet them, Ida is pronounced "eeeda" and Klara rhymes with "Laura". Try to roll the "r" if you can. They won't get offended if you pronounce their names wrong. I called Klara by the American pronunciation the whole night in Atlanta. The next day, I was listening to an interview with Ida when she referred to Klara in the Swedish pronunciation, of course. In Gainesville, I apologized to Klara. But she said "That's OK. It's just the English pronunciation". But it's still a nice gesture if you can learn to pronounce their names correctly.

Rockin' Atlanta


Mia's reaction to the crowd's reaction


Ida in mid "hair flip"


Look what I found in Gainesville.....an Ida!


Mia and I. Yeah, I know. I'm short and she's a big girl. Wouldn't we make a cute couple? LOL


Three hot blondes! My wife, Steph, flanked by Klara and Nicki. Nicki's wearing her "tough as nails rocker chick" expression. But don't let her fool you. She's cute as a button!
« Last Edit: October 30, 2014, 11:47:18 AM by Ron » Logged

We sing before we learn to talk. We dance before we learn to walk. Music is ingrained into our very souls from birth.
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« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2013, 08:06:52 PM »

Great review, Ron, and I know you have established a connection with a couple of them. Great that Steph could join you and get back a bit to your early days together. They do some fine work in their genre and I'll give them a shot when they come back to my area.
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An fidléir's mínealaíne i sprite iomlán sin
Ron
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 01:43:56 PM »

Thanks Scott! We had an amazing time! It did take us back. The girls were very generous with their attention as was Snakesyn Whiskey, particularly Matt and Jordan, the singer and bass player respectively (Steph thought Matt was particularly cute. How dare her check out band members!  Roll Eyes ).
Crashdiet was somewhat aloof, but oh well. They weren't my focus on this trip anyway. They performed well enough, but their music didn't really grab my attention. I know CB isn't necessarily your genre, but I think you'd enjoy a live show. I'll keep you posted on any future US tours.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 01:45:46 PM by Ron » Logged

We sing before we learn to talk. We dance before we learn to walk. Music is ingrained into our very souls from birth.
Ron
Total Mairead Fanatic!
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Posts: 1133



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« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2013, 11:19:51 AM »

Update: Like CW, CB kicks things up a notch with subsequent tours too!

I came across this tour's version of the originally posted link, "Losing the Game". For this year, Mia and Klara added a cool duel guitar riff to the intro of the song (any Iron Maiden fans will recognize the influence as it reflects what Dave Murray and Adrian Smith have always been known for. They toured with Iron Maiden last year. Coincidence? I think not). Though the production is much lower budget (a guy with his I-phone?), the girls' performances are MUCH more refined. Mia's lead breaks are cleaner, more articulate, and more complex. This is a "bootleg?" video, and the person allowed it to run a good amount of seconds after the song ended, revealing Mia's warm repoire with the audience. She's definitely a "Heavy Metal Chloe" in that respect.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiyqzwTYPY8

« Last Edit: May 30, 2013, 11:33:04 AM by Ron » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2013, 12:00:57 PM »

Should be fun seeing that on tour next year.
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