A Bus Journey Into A Time Before ABBA
October 19, 2019 3:49 PM   Subscribe

"Swedish pop was dominated by roving bands in garish costumes until Abba changed everything. Benny Andersson now leads one of those groups." [NYT] Benny Anderssons Orkester (Benny Andersson's Orchestra, BAO) went on tour this past summer. Here they are performing ABBA's song On And On And On, their own songs Story Of A Heart and Fait Accompli. Also, here's 18 minutes from one of this summer's shows [edited, good stuff]. All videos are amateur audience videos, but generally pretty watchable.

Or, for a more full experience of "being there", here is 1h30m of amateur footage from a show at Sofiero Castle, Helsingborg that perhaps captures more fully the 4 hour concert experience without it being 4 hours long.
posted by hippybear (9 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
I have a theory about the bands that play at our (relatively small) county fair.

There are the has-been bands who are touring because the singer has 3 alimony payments and the drummer is facing bankruptcy.
They need the money and usually will robotically play the hits with as little banter as they can get away with.

The second type are the bands that just like performing but can't be bothered with large venues and complex tours.
They are the ones that play the lesser known tracks from their heyday, mix in some songs from other bands and show off their (perhaps unknown) musical chops.
The main goal appears to be giving people a good time and the concerts are usually pretty tight.

The "dansbands" concept reminds me of the latter.
posted by madajb at 4:28 PM on October 19, 2019

Dansbands have some of the most amazing outfits (and therefore album art) ever.

Larz Kristers in particular, but there all good.
posted by jonnay at 5:29 PM on October 19, 2019

Dansbands are amazing. Growing up in Sweden in the 80s, I know I didn't have the appreciation for the art form that I should have had, and it was sort of dying out at the time. I've danced my heart out for many hours to many of these types of live bands, with no memory of any of them beyond the vague feel of if it was a female or a male singer, and if their outfits were extra sparkly. It's been more than a decade since my hometown "dansbana" was demolished - the dancing pavilion known as "Jonko" (no idea why) that at one time was a fixture in the community. A lot of the old dancing places I frequented as a teen are gone or closed now, so it does my heart good to watch this. And off I go to listen to some of the old classics...
posted by gemmy at 6:18 PM on October 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

We have gone from ABBA to YZZY. (or at least to UVVU)
posted by oneswellfoop at 7:46 PM on October 19, 2019

Gemmy -- If I'd known there were bands like Vikingarna and the Boppers around in the 1980s, I would have been a huge fan. I wish that the organized crime figures who controlled popular music in America at that time would have let more music into the country. As its was, they barely let ABBA make an impression here.
posted by Modest House at 7:46 PM on October 19, 2019 [2 favorites]

Maybe it's because I have been woken up again by my on-call pager, but the framing of this article is hard to parse.

My read is: "Before Abba, Swedish music was played by people in garish costumes. Thanks to Abba, garish costumes went away! Here's someone running one of those pre-Abba bands. You can tell because they dress plainly and play Abba tunes."

The rest of the article makes a lot more sense once you look up who the subject is, but that intro is a bit weird and misleading.
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 12:17 AM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Possibly needs a “schlager” tag (the German term for light entertainment music is also used in Sweden as shorthand for dansbandmusik).
posted by acb at 6:07 AM on October 20, 2019

What a lovely post. The Swedish dansband culture has always fascinated me, and it's fun to know Benny has returned to his roots.
posted by mumimor at 7:50 AM on October 20, 2019

Benny's not the only one; there was an indiepop band in the Swedish-speaking parts of Finland named Cats On Fire, who were rather Smiths inspired, down to the frontman's Morrisseyesque* quiff and stage mannerisms. They broke up and his current band, Vasas Flora och Fauna, abandons the British indie/twee idiom in favour of a Swedish dansband/schlager idiom.

* this was before Morrissey outed himself as a Nazi.
posted by acb at 9:52 AM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

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