Concert Reviews

Gefle Skivmässa, Gävle Sweden, Day One: 3 May 2024

Since 2016, the Gefle Skivmässa has been organised as a record fair on the day with concerts at night, at the magnificent venue called Gasklockarna (The Gas Bells), an old gas factory with two circular buildings. This year, the organisation was formalised into a cultural association called Sounds Fair.

Because the highly acclaimed annual Gefle Metal Festival was unfortunately cancelled (and for good, as it seems), record fair organisers Sounds Fair decided to make the Gefle Skivmässa a two-day event with a focus on heavier music on the Friday to pay tribute to the Gefle Metal Festival.

The lucky coincidence of knowing Beardfish keyboard player / guitarist / vocalist Rickard Sjöblom provided Sounds Fair with some inside information on the band's plans for getting back together and therefore the opportunity to book Beardfish for their reunion show! But that had to wait till day two. First, here's our report of day one!

Jerry van Kooten — text
Anders Sjöberg — photos

Xorsist

If the plan was to pay tribute to the Gefle Metal Festival, at least one true metal band should be there. Opening the Friday evening with the heaviest band showed both the diversity of the schedule and of the audience. I saw several folks at the front who kept their place for all bands that night. Of course there was a hardcore crowd of headbangers against the stage for Xorsist from Stockholm.

Xorsist live on stage at Gefle Skivmässa 2024, four musicians in colourful lighting, audience in front of stageXorsist

A fun thing happened overhearing a woman my age entering the building telling she was there to see her son playing in Xorsist. I thought the band looked young, but in reality it says something about my age and not theirs!

Death metal, it's not a genre I am familiar with and cannot comment on the musical part compared to other bands in their genre, but I could see/hear the band were well-rehearsed, they were tight, and the sometimes challenging breaks and sections were handled most adequately.A grunt here and there I can stand but screaming or grunting all the time is too much for me. Glad to see, both for the band and the organisation, that there were a bunch of people enjoying themselves immensely.

Gaupa

Gaupa vocalist Emma Näslund at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Gaupa's Emma Näslund

Unknown to me before the event (save a quick listen on YouTube), the evening proper (for me) started with a nice surprise. After the intro the power of the music grabbed me and did not let me go until the gig was finished. Imagine the power of Blues Pills, the heaviness of The Gathering at the time of Strange Machines, and vocals sounding sometimes like Björk on steroids.

Gaupa drummer Jimmy Hurtig at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Jimmy Hurtig (Gaupa) Gaupa guitarist David Rosberg at Gefle Skivmässa 2024David Rosberg (Gaupa)

An intro tape, then a slow build-up growing and growing. I liked it instantly. Stoner-heavy, but the vocals add an angelic layer, same as when Anneke van Giersbergen joined The Gathering. The opening track Mammon is a good example of their progressive inclinations. Subtle changes in speed and chords, the vocal melodies, and guitar lines and melodic solos.

Daniel Nygren, who is on the Myriad album, had to step down in early 2023 and was replaced by Herman Danielsson. David Rosberg is the other guitarist, and both deliver solos. Erik Sävström plays bass, and Jimmy Hurtig the drums. The eye but more specifically ear-catching singer is Emma Näslund. Gaupa is from the city of Falun, mid-Sweden.

Gaupa bass player Erik Sävström at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Erik Sävström (Gaupa) Gaupa guitarist Herman Danielsson at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Herman Danielsson (Gaupa)

Several songs in a row the music gave me goosebumps. Now that means I am having a very, very good time. The right amount of progressive twists and unexpected turns in a heavy stoner-based style, a little faster than usual but overall very diverse. And energetic! Singer Emma is a demanding your attention where the rest of the band is rather static compared to her, and together that works. I have to admit that I usually have my eyes closed when I am enjoying the music, so I missed quite a bit of the visual aspect of the gigs.

Gaupa vocalist at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Emma Näslund (Gaupa)

Mixing progressive rock and folk rock into the melting pot is making their music interesting for a wider audience, while it is also giving the band a recognisable style. Delivered with the energy and enthusiasm shown on stage really makes a gig so much more than listening to an album.

A most excellent surprise! Their latest album Myriad was released in 2022. I hope we can look forward to something new soon.

Mammon The Drunk Autopussy Wants To Fight You Mjölksyra Diametrical Enchantress Moloken Exoskeleton RA My Sister Is A Very Angry Man Vakuum Febersvan

Skraeckoedlan

This was one band I was looking forward to see live. I had their three previous albums and was waiting for this event to buy the latest album, Vermillion Skies. I had not heard the new album before tonight, but I did not worry. My liking their three previous studio albums was already in an upward trend so without having big expectations I knew I was going to be safe.

Skraeckoedlan at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Skraeckoedlan

Drenched in the heavy side of stoner, prog fans will still be delighted the catchy melodies, melodic solos, epic sections, and variety in songwriting. The energy the band shows is contagious, adding a little interaction with the audience is really bonding.

Skraeckoedlan at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Robert Lamu (Skraeckoedlan) Skraeckoedlan at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Henrik Grüttner (Skraeckoedlan)

A mix of songs from all the albums provided a good overview of their music so far. They even included their cover of Pärlor, originally by Swedish rock band Kent. I especially liked hearing Creature Of Doggerland which is one of my favourites.

Skraeckoedlan at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Erik Berggren (Skraeckoedlan) Skraeckoedlan at Gefle Skivmässa 2024Robert Lamu (Skraeckoedlan)

It was a great show! This was my first time seeing Skraeckoedlan play live. I know for sure this is not going to be the last time.

As the third band they probably had the best sound. But the mix was basically very good all night and resulted in a wonderful live sound, which must be hard inside this circular building. The sound engineer must know this venue pretty well. It's great to see people paying attention to detail, it adds to the audience's enjoyment of the event. Keep up the good work!

The Vermillion Sky Creature Of Doggerland Talisman Pärlor Tale Of Squidman Mysteria Haven Night Satan Elfenbenssalarna Äppelträdet Cactus

Outro

A wonderful night of heavy music, with the last two bands being very interesting for prog rock fans who like their music heavy. I hope it provided a little plaster for the people missing the Gefle Metal Festival.

An atmospheric venue, very good sound, great music (well, that depends on taste of course). If the guy at the bar would stop throwing with bottles in the bin and have a little respect for the artists and audience then things would be even better.

Links

Gefle Skivmässa home page
Gefle Skivmässa on Facebook

Sounds Fair (organiser) on Facebook

Gasklockarna (venue) official website
Gasklockarna (venue) on Facebook

Bilda (supporting organisation) official website
Region Gävleborg (funds) official website

Text by Jerry van Kooten
Photos by Anders Sjöberg, used by kind permission, licence CC BY-NC-ND

Concert Reviews