November 20th 2016
The arrangers behind Darklands are known for their awesome, big hall underground events in Stockholm and finally I managed to time my trip to the capital with one of their clubs, Darklands II.
Since Stockholm is significantly bigger than Gothenburg,you have to travel pretty far to get to the clubs in the outskirts. While living in GBG we’re spoiled with about a 30 min range to get to most underground areas, but in Sthlm we had to take a 50 min bus to get to Darklands. It was snowy, cold and pretty horrendous outside, but we made it.
Upon arriving to the area, we immediately hear the resounding bass. Not like you typically do when being close to a club venue, not at all. The bass was so loud across the street that it felt like standing in a closed room inside the club.
I’ve been to clubs with good sound systems and bad ones, and it’s really an important factor. But I’ve never heard anything like the sound set up at Darklands. The venue was an old shed/factory space covering massive amounts of square metres. The place was probably bigger than Mythos’ old venue in Gothenburg. They split up the club into two areas, one for dancing and one for hanging out. Both spaces were of pretty much equal size. And it was pretty impressive to see how they managed to really amp up the sound to cover that big of a room.
Now, I’m not really a fan of techno and this was obviously a techno party so I won’t let my own taste in music interfere with the review.
However, the music was so tough and monotone at times that it was pretty hard to dance to and the vibe at the dance floor was not as cheerful and friendly as could have been. The place was also very cold and it was first at 05 that enough people were around to sort of warm it up.
The whole club felt very Berlin-inspired (more so than any club in Gothenburg) and if that’s what you’re looking for, you’re gonna have an awesome time at Darklands.
Photographer: Stephen Kirk and Stella Fredholm
April 5th 2016
S T O C K H O L M L O V E A F F A I R
This weekend Stockholm Love Affair brought some great names to the Globen arena complex, Annexet. We were there to check the bands out, and to see how well the sound adapted to a more commercial and grand setting compared to the shabby warehouses we’re used to hear this style of music in.
We arrived around eight o’clock. The administration around getting a pass and getting in was really smooth. For anyone who hasn’t been to annexet before – this is can be a mess.
The first impressions are great. The first floor – the main stage is absolutely huge and they lived up to their graphic design really well with thematic neonlights hanging from the roof and great animations. The light show is one of the best we’ve ever seen, with lazers, tons ‘o lights and multiple screens for animations. Later on they also fired up some pyrotechnics and fireworks soaring through the room. Great eyecandy – especially for the great part of the audience that was noticably fucked up on various combinations of alphabetic letters.
There wasn’t alot of people there when we arrived, but the sound was well adapted and it didn’t feel scarce, stiff, or awkward, a curse that these arenas can get. People were already in a good vibe and Kölsch delivered a really good set. After that Joris Voorn steps up and delivers the best set of the evening in my personal opinion, with well produced tunes and playful sound. People weren’t too fucked up yet, and the room was vibrating with anticipation.
After Joris the second floor had its premiere for us, unfortunatly it was a bit of a disappointment. The room was quite small, and could easily have been made to feel like a proper dark, lo-fi, and crowdy rave – preferably with some neon light decorations. Instead the room was really – really light, not from the DJ-booth, but from the bar that was located right next to the DJ-booth with bright lights. And as if the bar wasn’t light enough, there was a TV screen showing commercials about Eurovision Song Contest and Dixie Chicks hanging on the wall. Not what I needed to know right there right then, but apparently they didn’t have permission to shut it off. Bella Sarris did a really good set though, and even though the crowd was a bit scarce there was some really great vibes in the room.
Maceo Plex was the first one who dropped some really fat, dirty and wobbly synthbass. For a bassjunkie like me, this was pure heaven. The sound and lights weren’t as great on his set though. There were some part where the trebble messed my poor tinnitusears up, but overall it was quite good. Most of the set was played in utter darkness, probably aiming for the lo-fi aura, but the lights from the bar and neon decorations didn’t mend too well with it.
Pleasurekraft started out dark and heavy and went over to their iconic bouncy and playful style later on, the crowd had gathered and everyone had a blast, even though the setting as earlier mentioned didn’t match the quality of the music.
At this hour people were starting to get properly shitfaced in various ways. Adam Bayer dropped a really heavy set with alot of hard synths and sweeping middleparts. His set was alot more EDM-ish with drumrolls and a more housy feeling.
Âme was really nice. Much more scaled down, lo-fi and minimal with alot of dark and evil-ish drops. Later on, it evolved into a bouncier, more uplifting DJ set, alike many of the others sets of the night. Meanwhile Sven Väth played at the mainstage and this was visually the best set. This was high level eyecandy, and for the ones full of other forms of candy it must’ve been like a religious relevation.
Kölsch, P A U and Very Addictive did some really good sets at the after party at Berns. The Clean and harmonic tech-house vibes, combined with a few dirty drops, melted well with the quite posh aura of Östermalm – in comparison to other techno venues. But it was a shame the guards wouldn’t let more people in, it could and should’ve been more crowded. By 4 o clock the dancefloor was quite scarce and centered only the DJ booth and the bars.
If the place would’ve been a bit more crowded it’d be a blast. Apparently people who only had tickets but no armbands didn’t get in, meanwhile the guards were letting in their friends.
The next day started out with Anna Schneider who had a great clean, bubbly, and uplifting start. It got darker and heavier, but continuously bubbly toward the end -and would’ve fitted perfectly in an open air rave. Great tech-house vibes and it turned a bit more gritty later on during the set. The crowd was already turnt up, even though it was early in the evening.
Very Addictive was really swingy and funky, and they dared to play with rythms that weren’t purely the 4/4 thumps. I especially loved one song with wonky atonal basses, unfortunatly i couldn’t find it on shazam to share it.
La Fleur was great, she started out with some really dark and damp deep house, then she went harder along the way. Didn’t catch any of her most famous songs unfortunately because Solomon started an hour in, but overall it was wonderful.
Solomun starts out minimally but with a deafening bass thumping, proceeded in orgasmical blips and blops, going over in wobbly psy-ish and beyond. This was one of the greatest sets I’ve ever heard, haven’t danced that hard in a long time and I was almost sober. This was undoubtedly the absolute apex of the festival.
I only managed to catch a bit of Josefin Rosén but she played a fucking killer track with wompy and bouncy future house vibes in a tech house format. Great ending to a great festival.
The Second night at Berns was awesome, Anja Schneider, La Fleur and MIIDII delivered the perfect setting, and the place was crowded with people that went all in. I have to admit though, that my judgment was a bit clouded by some nice fellows that needed help finishing their magnum bottle of Dom Pérignon before getting in, but the vibes were alot better than the night before.
My conclusion is that the general area around the two floors was really stiff and kind of killed your vibe. If they’d just turn down the lights, and added a slight thematic touch to it, it’d feel like more of a coherent design and theme. The only uplifting part between the floors, except for the foodshops, was the clothingbrand DRKN’s stance were you could try viritual reality (i.e googles with a computerscreen that reacts to your movement) and check out their merch.
It’s hard to get the underground vibe that this sort of music is more accustomed to in a place like Annexet, and it felt more like a concert than a rave. But overall it was amazing and most people were still dancing their asses off, even though there was plenty of stiff posh people there. It’s a shame though that they didn’t put more effort into the second floor. Even though they had great bookings to it, the main floor totally outshined it in an unfair way to the DJs. The setting define the mood alot, and the setting was more fit for a highschool disco than DJs of a high standard like this. Fortunatly the crowd was shitfaced and hyped enough to not give as much of a shit that I did, and it wasn’t bad – it just could’ve been so much better if they matched the second floor a bit to the first one.
10 November 2015
Club Devotion – Friday 6/11
So, you know how Illegal Ground usually is into all that electronic underground genre. Well sometimes we need to take a break from this upbeat, hectically, psychedelic world to discover other venues in our lovely cities.
Fasching was one of our #Must go places in Stockholm where we just had to find out how a jazz club also can arrange a hip hop & soul night, all in the same weekend. Friday’s at Fasching is all about the club Devotion, where you basically get that mix of hip hop, soul, funk & boogie, in music terms. Don’t forget the fact that Club Soul on Saturday’s is even more favored, which makes us even more curious on this sneaky Friday venue. Let’s discover why Fasching is so popular among such a wide range of people.
We arrive around 1 AM and the expected line is short enough to just step inside, apparently this is a rare luck**. Entrance fee is definitely overcoming and the stamp makes sure you can go in and out, phew! What clever set for a club, to be welcomed by a bar before you enter the funky dance floor, that is genius; drinks first, dance later! Fasching’s first impression frankly reminded us of a once (and still?) very beloved jazz club in Belgium called Boonnefooi which also has been reviewed by us with good intentions. So basically we are dancing to hip hop in a pure jazzy atmosphere, and it WORKS!
At Fasching you’ll find a mix of all kinds of people; a typical style has absolutely no meaning here. People are digging against the wall and on stage, where the spot usually is occupied by some pretty famous jazz performers. Resident DJ Pure P who is our music entertainer tonight, and all Fridays’ as it appears drops some sexy mixes with trap beats, hip hop and soul that simply melts in with the perfect mood this evening. Of course we just love watching all the dancers trippin’, oh dear. Even Shazam’s sound capturing was basically raping our phones.
Being given thumbs up to Fasching by city locals, our high expectations of this non-electronic club were fully satisfied. It is just one of those places where everything matches and there’s this great synch between audience, mood, sound, and place. You gotta LOVE the inside-terrace!
If you are looking for cool and funky places and want to collide with a various mix of people in this capital city, and perhaps even minimize the risk of bumping into Stureplan bastards, then you should by all means step in to Devotion. SuperLIKE!
PS. Don’t forget to order your appetizer from the bar with the popular drinks! And as mentioned, the Saturday club Soul is one of Stockholm’s sweethearts, try both!
Check this out:
Club Devotion: https://www.facebook.com/devotionsthlm/
@illegalground for videos
13 July 2015
Autonom 10/7 – w. Dorisburg, Sean Dixon, Daniel Araya, Kim Sandgren, Dennis Vera
With an amazing and promising line up of DJs we just couldn’t miss this party. The club took place in what appeared to be a renovated smaller car workshop in central Hammarby Sjöstad with both a corner of comfortable sofas and a big dancefloor.
We arrive at approximately 02 and the queue is already long and full with happy, expectant people. The crowd is young with the typical hipster and HBTQA-attributes and the club absorbes the spirit of the crowd. It’s lively, people constantly moving and the dancefloor always packed. The place itself feels different than the regular black clubs, it’s furnished with gold-painted fashion mannequins in the corners, a vespa hanging from the roof and the bathroom walls are covered in retro, black and white pictures. However, what we really were looking forward to – the music, that’s where we were let down.
We get inside in time to hear Sean Dixon’s DJ-set and boy, it is slow, repetative and trance-like. Usually this music is played much later, around 06-07 when the last dancers are floating around in another world but at 02 it’s way too early. It simply feels weird and out of place. Sean Dixon is a great DJ and he mixes well but his selection of tracks just wasn’t up to par this night.
At 0330 Sean Dixon leaves the DJ-booth for Daniel Araya who is a recognized live techno act. He presents us solid, dark techno on a higher level but after witnessing Dawid Dahl at Apartment, the set just wasn’t that exciting.
No matter what music was played the crowd still danced continously and furiously throughout the night and it was so warm and sweaty that regular air breaks to cool down was a must for survival. Overall an okay club with barely okay music.
Kameleont: Open Air sat July 11
Kameleont is well known for their underground clubs and this Saturday they hosted an open air in a beautiful location 20 minutes from Stockholm’s center, next to Flatenbadet in Orhem.
When leaving to get there we quickly realize that it’s a pretty difficult spot to get to that late. It’s almost impossible without a cab and would have required a long ass walk in the pitch black forest. We choose the lazy alternative and when we arrive we’re relieved to see that a lot of people still managed to come. The location is beautiful, muddy as hell but simply magnificent with the lake right next to the dancing area and the forest surrounding us.
Among the few DJs we find Benjamin Mull (yes, the younger brother of Joel Mull) and if we were disappointed the night before it’s the complete opposite now. It’s good techno that fits the setting and the hour perfectly. Everyone is dancing, moving together closely in the mud without any complaints and it’s just really fun to see people this content.
The party is still going strong when we leave at 11 in the morning and people are either dancing, hanging out on the cliffs or swimming in the lake.
Compared to Gothenburg where we are spoiled with very central underground parties the big ones in Stockholm need to be off the radar because of the tension with the police. Even though we considered the party to be far off, the police still dropped by with flashlights for an hour but luckily left, same with the club Autonom.
Kameleont’s open air was a great party and the arrangers deserve a huge bouquet of roses for managing a party from 16 ‘til 12 the next day with only 50 kr as entrance fee.