Uffe's Kallare, Växjö, Sweden, 16/10/2002
published: 17 /
The Clientele recently played a four date tour of Sweden. Tommy Gunnarsson catches them on fine form and at their intimate best in a tiny basement club
The only reason that I wanted to go to this year’s Emmaboda Festival in Sweden was the Clientele. Well, that's not really true. There were some other bands that I was interested in seeing, but they were either Swedish or Norwegian, and I felt that I would have the opportunity to see them sooner or later anyway, so I was not prepared to pay 800 Swedish crowns to see just one band. That’s why I was very happy to find out that the Clientele have decided to visit this country of ours once again, this time playing in four cities; Lund, Växjö, Linköping and Stockholm.
Uffe’s Källare is actually quite a strange venue for concerts. The name means “Uffe’s basement” in English, and that’s exactly what it is. The club owner, Uffe Ekerot, lives in the same building and regularly puts on concerts in his basement , which, when you walk through through its narrow corridors, feels a bit like submarine. Then suddenly, you get to the main hall, where the stage and the space reserved for the audience adds up to the space of a standard sized living-room.
It was on this small stage that we were about to see the Clientele, a band that I have loved ever since I heard the '(I Want You) More Than Ever' single two years ago.
Sadly, the venue had decided to start things off with a band called Esther from Växjö. I really don’t know how to describe them without being rude and without mentioning a band called Bad Cash Quartet who are hugely popular here in Sweden (God knows why…) but who will be completely unknown to the vast majority of you reading this. And you should be thankful for that. Ramshackle music with a vocalist who can’t keep a single note for more than a friction of a second isn’t music to my ears, and I just want them off the stage. But they have got their local fan club lined up in front of the stage, so they are happy to play.
Then, Alasdair MacLean and his two companions walk on to the stage and the opening chords to 'Joseph Cornell' is heard through the speakers. It sounds so great! And then when Alasdair sings his first words into the microphone, I can’t help but smile. He sounds exactly like on the records! Somehow I have imagined that the whispering voice I have heard coming out of my speakers at home was manipulated in some high-tech studio way, but no. And just as I have settled down from that surprise, my eyes stop at Alasdair’s hands as he plays his guitar, and suddenly I realize that he must be one of the best guitarists in the indiepop scene. Even though he is alone with this instrument on the stage, he manages to play every chord, every solo, every hook… wow! Then I find myself staring at this pair of hands for the rest of the concert (which by the way is too short), and completely forget about the two remaining members of the band, who also do a fantastic job. When they decide to play their last song, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, I just want them to continue. Never mind that it’s an almost two hour drive home and I have to go to work the day after. I want to hear more! They did not have the time to play 'Saturday' or '“6 a.m. Morningside', which are two of their best songs if you ask me. But instead we get some fantastic new songs and classics like 'Reflections After Jane' and 'I Had To Say This'. I really shouldn’t complain…
Then we head home to the west coast, driving through an endless forest in the rain. Hey, doesn’t that sound like a Clientele-song?