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On approach to Sigurdsgatan 25 it looks more like a small warehouse than a venue, but inside it is intimate and cosy, perfect for an acoustic set and a perfect escape from the harsh Swedish weather outside (especially as they are playing a Queen dvd on arrival and have Newcastle Brown on draft!). But yes, back to the music, for those of you unfamiliar with Nicke Borg, he is the singer and guitarist of Swedish punk rock and roll outfit Backyard Babies and on this small tour he is debuting his finished material from ‘Homeland’, his solo album. Nicke takes to the stage alone, armed with only his guitar and says a few words in Swedish, apparently something humorous according to the chuckling crowd before the recognisable chords of ‘Nomadic’ are struck and the sing-a-long starts. The style changes as his solo material is aired - ‘A Beautiful Affair’ has a slight country feel to its acoustics whilst he belts out the wonderful chorus as if his heart was warming as he sang every word. ‘Crystal Jack’ is a little quicker in pace, a song to tap your foot to definitely, but as the crowd seem unsure of the lyrics, Nicke Borg’s vocals simply sweep across the air in the venue, sending shivers up the spine. ‘Homeland’ has a rolling melody which just allows you to get completely lost in the song; it sounds absolutely beautiful live in this simple setting. Some over enthusiastic Backyard Babies are heard squealing and yelping when ‘Saved By The Bell’ rings through the air, a fan favourite it would seem. The mix of material eases the transition from solo material, to previous Backyard Babies material, to new material (in the form of songs called ‘Johnny’s Journey’ and ‘Alone’, from ‘Homeland: Chapter Two’) in a flawless way. The rest of the set consists of cover songs, ‘The Clash’ and the beautiful ‘Abandon’ by Backyard Babies, both setting the hearts of the crowd soaring, equalled only by their voices singing back every word in admiration. Nicke wraps the set up by performing two Social Distortion covers, a welcome treat. The solo material from Nicke Borg performed tonight shows that not only can he stand alone from Backyard Babies, but he does it well. With any luck, Chapter 2 will only improve upon his already excellent material and the people of the UK will hopefully get a chance to hear it live. This show was a fantastic display and it goes to prove that a man, a guitar and a crowd - it’s all anyone really needs.
Friday 17th December 2010
Sigurdsgatan 25 in Västerås, Sweden
Review by Siobhan Hogarty