An October guide to the Stockholm music scene

Contributor David Stavrou lays out some of the highlights awaiting Stockholm music lovers in October.

An October guide to the Stockholm music scene
Raghu Dixit and Robert Plant both appear in Stockholm in October

Stockholm’s music scene in October will feature a combination of well-known and lesser-known artists. It will also be a truly international month with a wide selection of musical shows from all over the world.

Robert Plant, one of the world’s most successful and influential rock singers, is this month’s heavyweight visit. During the late 60s and 70s he was Led Zeppelin’s lead singer and since the band’s break-up in 1980 he has led a successful solo career. His last visit to Stockholm was with American country singer Alison Krauss. This time he will be accompanied by his new group, Band of Joy, which is also the backup group on his latest album released just a couple of weeks ago.

The album was recorded in Nashville and it takes Plant back to his roots. A Rolling Stone critic said about it: “it’s pretty damn good, and what it lacks in coherence it makes up for in magnified rock & roll mojo”. Plant’s concert will take place in Globen’s Annexet on October 14th.

Other big names to play at Globen this month are American rock veterans ZZ Top (Annexet, October 24th) and one of the world’s most renowned rock guitarist Carlos Santana (October 27th). But it’s not only the old guard of American popular music that’s coming to Stockholm this month.

R&B singer Kelis will play at Berns on October 12th, New-York pop group Scissor Sisters will play at Cirkus on the 27th, Southern rock band Needtobreath will play at Göta Källare on the 14th and followers of the American Idol TV show will be glad to know that 2006 finalist Chris Daughtry and his band will play at Debaser on October 7th.

From the more alternative and experimental side of current American music, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti is a California group described by their record label as “sublime as they are surreal with a sound loaded with hazy nostalgia and a fiercely experimental pop palette”. Anyone who finds this description even slightly appealing should definitely check them out at Debaser on October 22nd. Debaser will also host punk band The Gaslight Anthem on the 31st, post-rock instrumental LA-based Red Sparrows on the 4th and experimental metal band A Storm of Light on the 24th.

From the other side of the Atlantic, a number of British acts will be visiting Stockholm this month. The Magic Numbers who have released their third studio album this summer will play at Göta Källare on October 21st for the benefit of their many Swedish fans, especially those who missed their August Popaganda festival gig.

Hurts, the synthpop duo from Manchester, will play at Debaser on the 16th, Scottish rock band Biffy Clyro will also play at Debaser on the 21st, Dan Treacy’s Television Personalities will play at Strand on the 9th and chamber pop band The Devine Comedy from Northern Ireland, known for its classical arrangements and literary references, will play at Södra Teatern on the 21st.

Perhaps not as big on musical nuance or subtle irony in the lyrics, a couple of heavy metal bands will be visiting Stockholm this month too. German band Primal Fear will play at Göta Källare on October 5th and Canadian band Annihilator performs at Fryshuset’s Klubben on the 19th.

Södra Teatren is probably the city’s most important centre for those international performances which don’t usually get a chance in established mainstream settings. This autumn it’s focusing on India and will present music, film, lectures and literature from the sub-continent mainly in English. The musical part of the program will include both club acts and popular music like the Scotland-based Bhangra group Tigerstyle, singer-song writer Raghu Dixit and classical north Indian flute and tabla virtuosos.

Nadia Izzat, manager of Södra Teatern, says: “My dream is to build an artistic house that is a global epicenter for creative meetings, where courage, solidarity and the highest quality stage performances will inspire visitors beyond the expected”.

And the program does indeed include many interesting international shows. Some examples are Portuguese Fado singer Cristina Branco, Mexican electronic composer Murcof with visual label AntiVJ and an Eastern Western Night featuring Jazz improvisation, Klezmer and Celtic folk music.

Mark Kozelek who will play at Södra Teatren on October 25th is an American singer-songwriter and the man behind Sun Kil Moon, a musical project from San-Francisco which released its fourth album a couple of months ago. Kozelek writes personal, melancholic sounding songs and he plays the guitar beautifully so the Stockholm show in which he’ll accompany himself by just a nylon string guitar should be ideal for those who appreciate this unique artist.

October will also see some of Sweden’s internationally acclaimed artists appearing on local stages. Country-pop singer Jill Johnson will play at Cirkus on October 31st, Moneybrother, Anders Wendin’s solo project, will play at Södra Teatren on the same day and pop singer Erik Hassle will play at Debaser on the 29th. Other notable Swedish gigs this month are Erik Gadd who plays Strand on the 28th and Pernilla Andersson who plays Nalen on October 1st.

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What are the best concerts in Sweden this autumn?

Now that Sweden has lifted its audience restrictions for public events, The Local's Paul O'Mahony lists his recommendations for the best gigs to attend over the coming months.

Crowd at a music concert in Debaser, Stockholm
Crowds return to Stockholm venue Debaser after pandemic restrictions on events were lifted. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

Sweden’s musicians, concert promoters and venue operators have struggled to varying degrees through the pandemic. One surefire way to help get them back on their feet is to give organisers and artists the financial reassurance they need by pre-booking concerts. 

Of course these recommendations only apply if you feel safe attending large events; remember that you should stay home and take a Covid-19 test if you experience any symptoms that could be linked to the virus, even if vaccinated. And make sure to check with organisers if there are any specific coronavirus requirements you need to be aware of. 

Coming up: top gigs in Sweden over the next few months 

As a regular gig-goer, live music is the one thing I’ve missed most over the past year and a half. So it is with some excitement (and, I’ll admit, a degree of trepidation) that I prepare to go see Norwegian band Pom Poko this Friday at Hus 7 in Stockholm. Their melodic art-punk album Cheater sparked the year into life on its release in January. They’re also playing Plan B in Malmö on Saturday night

Plan B is also the venue when Squid hit Sweden with a thrilling dose of post-punk on October 15th. Tickets remain available for the show at the time of writing (an absolute steal at 120 kronor), though that’s sadly not the case in Stockholm where their October 16th gig at Melodybox sold out a long time ago. (Although you can sign up to be added to a waiting list). 

Another artist well worth checking out in October is Gothenburg guitarist and singer Amanda Werne, better known as Slowgold. Her live shows are great and she is embarking on a Swedish tour on October 8th. 

Emma-Jean Thackray, one of the UK’s most interesting jazz artists, will be at Fasching in Stockholm on October 15th

For the best kind of sonic assault, Anna von Hasswolff’s band Bada are scheduled to play in Stockholm, Malmö and Gothenburg in late October. 

Have any of you ever seen Gothenburg electronic veterans Little Dragon live? I haven’t but might check them out in November when they swing by Malmö, Stockholm and Gothenburg

Amason are also heading out on the road for a Scandinavian tour in November. If you haven’t heard Amanda Bergman’s voice in a live setting before this will be a treat. 

The inimitable Sibille Attar released her superb second album A History of Silence at the start of the year and she’s finally getting the chance to play her eighties-inspired gems live at Slaktkyrkan in Stockholm on November 18th

Cassandra Jenkins long lurked in the background as a musician in touring bands for people like Eleanor Friedberger and Purple Mountains. But this year’s album An Overview on Phenomenal Nature has really established her as an artist to be reckoned with in her own right. She’s coming to Södra Teatern in Stockholm on November 26th

Always popular in this part of the world, The Jesus and Mary Chain return to Sweden for dates in Stockholm and Gothenburg at the end of November

Wry Finland-Swedish indie outfit Vasas Flora och Fauna have some of the funniest (Swedish) lyrics and catchiest tunes around. They’ll be in Stockholm and Gothenburg the first weekend of December

UK experimental rockers Black Midi are also playing Stockholm and Gothenburg on December 4th and 5th. So prepare to travel if you want to catch both them and Vasas Flora and Fauna. 

As if that wasn’t enough, Bob Hund’s annual ‘week 48’ show also takes place on December 4th. But that has been sold out for ages so no decisions to make there. It is also worth noting though that Sweden’s hardest working band has also written a musical that’s going to be performed in Helsingborg (October-November) and Gothenburg (November)

Bonus: For a post-Christmas pick-me-up try to get down to Little Simz at Slaktkyrkan on January 14th if you’re in Stockholm. The UK rapper’s new album Sometimes I Might Be Introvert is one of this year’s best releases. 

Selected artists playing Sweden in 2022: Henry Rollins, Sarah Klang, Yann Tiersen, Mogwai, Pearl Charles, Wolf Alice, Lloyd Cole, Lord Huron, Future Islands, Josh Rouse + Vetiver, Tricky, Snail Mail, Porridge Radio, Aldous Harding, Shame, The Kooks, The War on Drugs, Echo and the Bunnymen, Kings of Convenience, Fontaines D.C., Alex Cameron, Lucy Dacus, The Divine Comedy, Mdou Moctar, Iggy Pop, Chubby and the Gang, Sparks, Belle & Sebastian, The National, Sharon Van Etten, Teenage Fanclub, Tindersticks, Suede, Viagra Boys, Pavement. 

For bigger arena shows, Ticketmaster covers a lot of the bases. Big-name acts with gigs in the offing include Ed Sheeran, Zara Larsson, Whitesnake and, lest we forget, ABBA

And that’s just a fraction of what’s going on. Tour schedules are busier than ever now that artists are finally getting back on the road. To keep track of what gigs are coming up I can recommend checking in with Luger, FKP Scorpio, and Live Nation. Follow your favourite venues too: sometimes they cut out the middleman and do their own booking and promotion. I also use the Bandsintown app, which comes with the added bonus of receiving messages from your favourite artists which let you pretend to be their friend. 

Enjoy the gigs, and stay safe! 

Paul O’Mahony is editorial product manager at The Local. In his spare time he plays the best new indie and alternative music as host of the Signals show on Nerve Music.