There was a time where Mando Diao used to fill venues until the sold out and sometimes had to give additional concerts. There was a time where Mando Diao were the next big thing. And there was a time when everybody went nuts, when you just pronounced the bands name.
I remember those times pretty clearly. Back in 2007, when times weren’t exactly the best for me, discovering Mando Diao was the best thing ever. They were playing this fresh, young but oldschool sort of rock ‘n’ roll, the songs were catchy and the lyrics full of power. For me, they were the Beatles of nowadays. The greatest event I remember, was seeing them live at the Rote Fabrik in Zurich, a venue small enough to fit maybe a crowd of 100 people. I noticed the existence of this mini unplugged concert the same day, so I managed to get there early enough to be able to buy one of the tickets left at the cashier. It was pure magic seeing them play that close to the audience and without any lights or stage supplies despite a decent Ikea lamp. I loved it. Zurich loved it. Everybody loved it.
After this, there was no stopping anymore: first, they were the hidden tip, Swedish guys enjoying playing some healthy rock. The big bang happened after the release of “Give me Fire” (2009) and the hit single “Dance with Somebody”. The tour was a huge success europewide, every concert was sold out and Mando Diao was known everywhere in Europe. I have to admit, I enjoyed them playing live in the smaller venues, but I loved to see them grow internationally.
After touring Europe, they took a break by recording the Swedish album “Infruset”. The time came for international fans to wait and see what the next project in English language would be. And then there was a surprise: “Aelita” was born.
The opinion were pretty different on the album. Love it or hate it, basically. The band founnd this synthetizer, named Aelita, in a vintage shop and started recording with it. Some songs have a heavy 80s beat, others are more experimental, the only one left on the record maybe reminding a bit of the good old acoustic sets was “Sweet Wet Dreams”. I personally am pretty positive when an artist decides to go new roads speaking of music. I also thought about a couple of songs on “Aelita” to be cool. But then came the time last year when I went to my last Mando Diao concert. The venue wasn’t sold out, and I read articles about their live performance that weren’t, uhm, let’s say extremely overwhelmed about it. The show left nothing that could remember of any Mando Diao set I’ve seen. The Frontmen, Björn Dixgard and Gustav Noren, were wrapped in white bathrobe, the rest of the band in underwear with their faces covered, in the middle of the stage, some kind of UFO.
Old songs were totally rearranged in some kind of strange slow motion thing, even the new ones didn’t sound like any of those on the album: thing you might should do with a freshly released album, people should get used to it. The lead singers talking random stuff like they were on some kind of bad LSD trip. After 45 struggled minutes, hoping for a change, I left. I left my first concert ever. Thing I’ve never done before, in order not to be disrespectful. Others left too shaking their heads. I’ve heard of Mando Diao performing, still in underwear, the last 3 songs in the old good way. I don’t know if this was planned to save the show at the very end or if it was a spontaneous Thing.
A lot happened until today since then. A couple of weeks ago they dropped the bomb: Gustav Noren left the band. I can’t imagine Mando Diao with only one lead singer, since they have some songs they perform alone. They say this is not going to affect the band and they are going to perform the summer festivals only with Björn Dixgard singing.
Is this going to work? I am very curious about the new live performances, how the set is build. Will they still play some songs where non-existent frontman Noren was singing by himself? And, last but not least, will Mando Diao still be here as a band after all the summer festival dates?
I think this is the most asked question. Fans don’t want to see the band stopping making music or falling apart. On the other hand, with all these changes happening, is there still motivation for the band to have ideas, be creative, do some records? I hope so, and I am very very looking for to see the new Mando Diao formation live on stage at Deichbrand Rock Festival in Germany. Hope dies at last.
To be continued…