Let's call this the comeback
We've all got a favourite band or artist who, no matter what they release, we'll love. We'll listen to it over and over, buy the CD & Vinyl, plus the 10 year anniversary edition which was double what you originally paid for it 10 years previous. Heck, we'll travel to a different country to see them play live. It's late April and Swedish band Shout Out Louds drop their new single, 'Oh Oh', as well as announcing a set of dates across Europe. I instantly listen to their new track 3 times in a row, as well as plan where I can go to see them next.
Shout Out Louds are one of those bands for me.
I remember buying their debut album 'Howl Howl Gaff Gaff' whilst at Uni in 2005. I was hooked after the first 4 seconds of the opening track, 'The Comeback'. I then picked up a few of their 7" singles from my local record shop in Lincoln, Sonic Sounds - the place where a lot of my student loan went, and never looked back.
Emma and I were strolling around Berlin the other week, thinking back at some of the times we'd seen them live together, relaying stories from as many as we could remember. This got me thinking, how many times have I seen them? Thank god for the Wayback Machine, keeping a record of the tour history page which SOL had taken off their website. Without this I would have forgotten a couple.
I wanted to write some of these memories down, remember some of the best nights I've spent with 5 people who have absolutely no idea who I am. In total, I counted 9. Which, isn't that many considering they've been around now for over 10 years.
13th February 2006 – Plug, Sheffield 26th November 2007 – Borderline, London 6th August 2008 – Dingwalls, London 2nd September 2008 – 229, London 16th April 2010 – KB, Malmö 26th April 2010 – Hoxton Bar & Kitchen, London 22nd September 2010 – The Garage, London 2nd April 2013 – The Lexington, London 13th June 2013 – XOYO, London
26th November 2007 – Borderline, London
A few months after I left University, I was naive and moved to London thinking I'd land some sort of cool job in a design agency, life would be great and I'd move into a huge house in Notting Hill a few years later. That's what all graduates think, right?
In reality, I moved to a place in Mile End with my mate from Uni, Mark. He was working at a comic book store and I was working at Ted Baker. I'd only been to London a couple of times before I moved there, mainly just day trips, so I had no idea how living there would work out.
On this occasion, I left it too late to buy a ticket and the gig had sold out. Lykke Li was supporting! Plus, it's the Borderline! It's tiny. I had to get in.
Yep, I became one of those people asking everyone if they had any spares. Unfortunately, I had no luck.
As time went on, the guy checking tickets on the door looked at the 4 or 5 of us hoping to get in and said, "Right, you lot, £8 each. Cash to me". That cash went straight into his pocket. I didn't care.
As for the SOL set, it was made up of material from their debut LP and recently released Our Ill Wills. Spider from The Pogues joined the band and performed Streams of Whiskey with them – which I also think was the case at Dingwalls a year or so later. Either way, it was pretty good.
Searching YouTube, I found some shaky, lo-res video footage of this gig. Long before the smartphone generation, people filmed at gigs using point-and-shoot cameras with low-capacity memory cards, hence the short clips. There's proof I was there, at 1:23 of the clip below, when the person filming pans around. That's me, right at the front.
16th April 2010 – KB, Malmö
I'd been wanting to go to Scandinavia for a while, and when I saw SOL were playing in their home country on my 25th birthday, the opportunity served itself up nicely. This was probably the most memorable one of the lot, but not for the obvious reasons.
Emma, my best mate Dan, and I left Stansted bound for Copenhagen. I was totally oblivious to events going on in Iceland, notably the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull causing widespread chaos across Europe, grounding pretty much all flights. Apparently we were one of the last planes to depart London that day.
Putting this to one side, the next day we headed over the Øresund Bridge to Malmö, Sweden. It's from this moment on where things began to get a little hazy. Lunch at a famous fast food chain, and decanting duty free bought spirits into lemonade was only going to make things go one way. Especially when it was still early afternoon.
After checking into our hostel and trying to give away our spare ticket for the gig to the girl working behind reception, we headed into town. Perched at a bar close to the venue, we enjoyed some live music as entertainment. A while later Emma disappeared. Some 30 minutes later, having got lost on the way back to the bar, she returned with muffins and candles. You can't have a birthday without cake, right?
Having failed to find a taker for our spare ticket, Dan got up on stage shortly after the band playing, and announced through the microphone that it was up for grabs: something I'm not too sure went down well with the locals as the response was somewhat subdued.
On the way in to the venue the gin-filled Sprite bottle we'd been swigging from was quickly confiscated. From this moment on, I remember buying a few bits of merchandise and that's about it. The band were touring their third album, Work, on this tour.
The following day we headed back to Copenhagen to find out we'd be staying for an extra 3 nights due to the ash cloud. It wouldn't have been so bad if it was a cheap city.
What about the others?
Yeah, they were all good too, and had certain moments attached to them that I can remember well. The first time I saw them in Sheffield, I stayed at my mate Dan's place as he was at university there. I think I paid £2 to get in that evening as it was a Club NME night.
The Hoxton Bar & Kitchen gig, 10 days after the Malmö date, was another stand out. Having only been back in the country a week, I was off to see them again. I remember getting to the venue pretty early and exchanging a few words with singer Adam Olenius in the bar, telling him about our issues getting a flight home.
Later this year I'll be heading to the Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin to see them for the 10th time. I'm also very tempted to go to the Hamburg show the night before, too.
For as long as they keep making music, touring, I'll keep buying their records and turning up to their shows. They're a band who I've followed throughout my adult life, and when I get to a point in life where I look back to my twenties, thinking about what music I was listening to at that point in my life, Shout Out Louds will be remembered fondly.
Photo by Ted Malmros.