Promoting Shakin’ Street:
Shakin’ Street Live At Sweden Rock 2008
I had been taking a two week vacation from the second hand recordshop I manage in case something should be coming up with Shakin’ Street. Much to surprise they had been booked to this years Sweden Rock Festival. A new CD was in the wraps and yet to be released.
“You’re are on our guestlist, Anders”, Fabienne wrote me. “I’ll see if I can get you along as crew” J-Lou said. They wanted someone to be filming the gig and needed help with their luggage. If I paid for the hotel I could be coming along.
Waiting on the 5th in the Kastrup, Copenhagen Airport for the band to arrive at 8.57 am once they are through Arrival we are about to continue with the train to Sölvesborg where we will be picked up by the festival crew to be taken by car to our hotel.
Meeting the band for the first time after being a fan for so many years is needless to say a great moment for me. Consisting of original members singer and harpplayer Fabienne Shine, drummer Jean-Lou Kalinowski and leadguitarist Ross the Boss the new guys added are guitarist Phillipe Kalfon, keyboardplayer Phillipe Bonanno and replacing original member Mike Winter for the concert is Fred Guillemet on the bass.
From the filmed rehearsals Jean-Lou has posted on the net I get the impression of the new team - and they sound so good.
“We’ve been up since 4” Fabienne tells me and while her and Jean-Lou purchases tickets for the train Ross has started talking to some Danish fans - on their way to the festival – and producing a CD - now do they want to hear something from his newest CD (The German-based RTB Band, scheduled for release in August) everybody’s smiling.
Waiting on the platform Fabienne produce a CD from her bag. “I want you to have a copy of the special edition CD we made for the festival” she says the CD limited to 100 copies containing 5 songs from the forthcoming release.
Once on the train I spend the time talking to Fabienne and Jean-Lou while Ross dozes off right across from us his feet resting on his suitcase the rest of the band relaxing further in the back.
Once at our hotel the hotel Brunns in Ronneby everybody needs to stretch out the big hotel (Holidayresort style) itself an impressive piece of architecture located in the middle of the most beautiful Swedish landscape we find the hotel to have a nice buffet at reasonable price ($10) including free coffee and light beer. Sharing a table with Fabienne Ross joins us outside on the terrace with its beautiful view over the hotel area and we talk.
So far the weather has been perfect, sunny with a light breeze, and as it looks it will be continuing for the rest of the festival.
After having eaten we all need to rest a bit in our rooms Jean-Lou and the rest of the guys deciding to leave by the shuttle for the festival at 5 - while I will be going with Fabienne at 7.
Meeting her in the hotelfoyer we take the frontseat of the bus. Fabienne has brought a demo copy of the forthcoming CD and asks the driver to put it on which he gladly does and we find ourselves singing along to it during the ride.
Once at the festival we will be checking out some of the evening’s bands as well as see if we can manage to interest some to be showing up at the Shakin’ Street concert tomorrow.
Disturbed just starting at the biggest stage the Festival Stage and we go to check out the band we later catch the Gothenburg-based death-metalband Avatar playing at the small intimate stage the Gibson Stage the ending of their set tieing in with Electric Light Orchestra starting at the next biggest stage the Rock Stage there is certainly some dedicated fans present after some songs we continue our drifting around the festival. The sun has almost settled and the dusk is coming on.
Two mildly drunk Norwegian heavy metal-fans approach us and the one guy saying something to Fabienne we start to talk. “We are playing tomorrow at the Zeppelin Stage” Fabienne tells them, “They got Ross the Boss in the band” I say adding to the guy who made contact: “Fabienne wrote a song especially for you. It’s entitled Viking Rock” and everybody’s smiling.
We want to catch the next-last shuttle at midnight which gives us enough time to watch the opening of Judas Priest at the Festival Stage the audience buzzing getting into the bus we meet the rest of the band minus Ross Jean-Lou filming. It’s been a long day for the band and none of us stays up. Tomorrow it will be Shakin’ Street Time.
Next day we meet for breakfast on the terrace. The selection of food and drinking is pretty good, we’ll soon be getting ready to leave with the shuttle at 1, arriving at the festival 45 minutes later we are met by Stefan our minder that will be showing us to the backstage area containing the dressingrooms in one hour it will be time for the soundcheck. Stretching out Ross does a little warm-up outside and I find myself thinking: “It’s going to be a great show” there being a buffet and drinking for us waiting in the dressingroom. As the band is getting ready I am overtaking the camera from Jean-Lou. It’s Action Time! After an exiting soundcheck showing all the Ramones-status promise of the band it’s time to be coming on.
From the first chords to the last drop of the drums the show is working so great the crowd going crazy over the music, early in the show you can hear one guy shouting to Fabienne: “I want to fuck you”, the rest of the crowd seemingly digging the music on a more serious level the performance being top-notch Ross, Jean-Lou, Fabienne action what can I say the new guys in the band sounds so good!
Starting out with a song from the forthcoming CD Dracula the audience is really digging it and I am filming knowing the music of the band so well that I really get the danger-edge of the music captured in my zoom and panning.
The attendance are a bit disappointing the audience counting something like 300 people only the festival hasn’t done enough for promoting the band I find myself thinking next song up being Dancing For Eternity from Fabienne’s last solo-album by request from Michael Ivarsson the leading force behind developing the Sweden Rock festival into becoming Sweden’s biggest within recent years.
Then the classic tune No Compromise from the band’s second album before Tell Me The Truth another song from the forthcoming release hits the audience hard.
It is the Swedish National Day and coinciding with Shakin’ Street’s performance is an event which has the singer from Sweden’s biggest heavymetal-act Hammerfall performing the National anthem. Also Ace Frehley will be hitting the Festival Stage shortly the band rocking hard with another classic tune from their catalogue Box You in the long coda-piece Ross is giving it a go applause and yels from the audience before another new song the slow haunting tune 6 Feet Under manifesting itself.
Then J-Lou hits it into probably their most well-known song Solid As A Rock Fabienne taking her position on the drum-stand finding the crowd buzzing to the ultimate Shakin’ Street Action song but it is only a delusion because when it ends the band pulls out two fantastic show-stoppers Viking Rock making the audience so glad they are singing along Phil’s keyboard taking it off to the outer limits Vampire Rock burning with Phil the guitarist and Fred on bass giving it everything they got the song taken to an partying end spurred on by Fabienne’s harp.
After the show we meet up with Michael Ivarsson as well as Karin Jonsson Michael being the creator of the festival photographer Karin having worked for it since the start everybody’s feeling well except for the attendance the show having been going so well. Also Erik Thompson responsible for the band bios in the programme shows up him having met Ross just a few days earlier in Hamburg at Ross’ concert with the RTB-band. This is cool.
Hanoi Rocks has started at a quarter past 6 on the Rock Stage and me and Fabienne decide to go and catch them I’m already scared that I have fallen in love with her.
It’s good to see Hanoi Rocks perform for the first time but I find myself thinking that they would have looked better on the Zeppelin Stage, after all I have been a fan for so many years never forgetting seeing their leadguitarist Andy McCoy performing with Iggy during the Instinct Tour back in 88 after their show more drifting till we catch a few songs from Whitesnake’s opening on the Festival Stage yawn and we both agree it sounding like a very inferior version of Led Zeppelin.
“What kind of music do you like?” Fabienne asks me and for me to put it shortly “Jazz and Psychedelic” I answer continuing to explain: “So much entertainment is inhibited. Inhibited media for inhibited people while entertainment has got the power to free your soul and mind” pointing out that Whitesnake is freeing nobody but that they may be coming home relieved of some metaphorical anger.
Each of us having been given a foodticket for the menu at the V.I.P. lounge we go there to find Jean-Lou, Phil and Fred already there. Grabbing some bottles of wine ordering our menu we sit down by the table with them. Across from us is Hanoi Rocks minus McCoy enjoying themselves with some friends. This is cool.
After having eaten we chat briefly to Mike Monroe and the rest of the guys before me and Fabienne returning to the festival area catching the end of the Ministry fare-well tour show at the Sweden Stage it’s very cool we go to catch a few songs from Def Leppard coming on the Festival Stage before catching the shuttle at midnight back to the hotel.
Back in the hotelbar it is hightime. Ross has already left for the Copenhagen airport to catch his plane back to New York and while Fabienne goes to her room I join Jean-Lou, Phil and Phil on the terrace for some drinking. After a glass of whitewine I go to my room falling asleep with a big peace in my heart.
Tomorrow the rest of the band will be leaving to be going back to Paris while me and Fabienne will be staying to catch the last day of the festival.
Next day after shaking hands with the band hugging me and Fabienne decide to see a little of Ronneby. Walking down the street from the hotel we discover the local café the place located by those canals familiar with the Swedish smalltowns itself kept in the original old-fashioned manor we order some icecream and I get a beer while Fabienne having some coffee.
As we get back we catch the shuttle at 3 for the last day of the festival. We will be in time for Blue Öyster Cult opening on the festival stage.
Not escaping logic we meet some of Shakin’ Street’s fans there they being so sympathetic that I feel a lot of love radiating from them as we meet fans from Spain, Sweden and Germany all of them wanting to have a photo taken with her we later run into Stina Gullander from the Swedish National Radio who takes a photo of me and Fab. At the concert Fab is in the frontrow together with some french fans while I’m in the second the show is good hearing them being a nice stretch out from all the days at the festival.
After their show me and Fabienne go and see them. Meeting Eric coming off-stage then the
rest of the band minus Buck. Going to their dressingrooms with Eric we meet Buck also
hanging around is some young stagecrew.
“Grab anything you like” Eric says pointing to the buffet and while Eric is making a call home via his laptop I grab myself a Heiniken.
It’s been so great to be meeting some of my biggest heroes in rockmusic and I give Buck a handshake wishing them good luck on their continuing for England where they will be touring for a week before returning to the states for what looks like a well-booked calendar for the summer.
Fabienne wants to catch Ratt having opened on the Rock Stage and together with Jules and Danny we go watching their show from the backstage me and Fabienne later catching the rest of their show in the crowd.
We go to visit the big beer-tent not far from the mainstages inside people looking loaded after 4 days of festival. Lots of tattoos, beards and long hair what I have noticed is that something like 50% of the guests at the festival being women. There is a very pleasant atmosphere to the festival, people seeming to have been enjoying themselves. It has been an major get-together and I don’t think I’ve spotted one person looking ill-at-ease during it. With its 33.000 attendance the festival is an success next day me and Fab is being taken together with finnish polka-rock band Eläkeläiset, that we’ve met outside their dressing room after their show after leaving the beer-tent, by car to the Sölvesborg trainstation. The finnish guys is good fun the female driver who turns out to be the wife and assistant of the local dentist very sympathetic.
We spend some wonderful days in Copenhagen Fabienne afterwards to be going back to Paris for interview and an in-the-studio acoustic session at the Rochefort radioshow.
When I leave her in the Kastrup airport I turn but she is gone and I find myself sheding a tear before pulling myself together as to be catching the Metro from the airport home.
Anders Röder, Copenhagen 01/07/2008
A four-part documentary about the trip to Sweden, as well as a two-part of the Rochefort Show can be viewed at: www.myspace.com/shakinstreet1