Heading to the this Euro fest gem? Here are our tips on what to do in the beautiful city of Gothenburg
Gothenburg, Sweden: where The Knife first donned massive black crow beaks and Soundtrack Of Our Lives got their first kaftans taken out. Where Goat conduct their global pop voodoo ceremonies, and from whence Crazy Frog brim-brimm-brimmed into history. Sweden’s second largest city, and probably Europe’s coolest and prettiest festival city break, is also something of a historical music hotbed and Sweden’s most thriving, varied and daring scene, from cutting edge synth-folk to the blackest of metals. So if you’re in town for the line-up of the year at Way Out West festival this weekend, here are some local musical attractions you need to check out…
Music Scene Gothenburg: 1955-2018 – Museum Of Gothenburg
Ahem. So there we were, all ready to provide you with a comprehensive and deeply researched history of the lineage of Gothenburg’s broad and vivid music scene when, whaddayaknow, it turns out someone’s already done it, collected all of the memorabilia and splashed it all over the Museum Of Gothenburg as a celebrated exhibition. Until March 2018, the story of Gothenburg’s musical legacy is collected here, from early 50s icon Chris Lennart of ‘Du Måste Lära Dig Rock’ infamy through its notorious death metal scene to more modern legends like Little Dragon and José González. Visitors please note: the Ace Of Base exhibit does NOT double as a lavatory.
Bengans record store
Gothenburg is awash with cult vinyl record shops – Dirty records comes highly recommended thanks to its regular live music on Fridays and Skivhallen Majorna has a £1 vinyl section (and believe us, that’s all you can get for £1 in Sweden) – but Bengans is the largest, not just in town but in all of the Nordic countries. Opened back in 1974, its stage has been graced by the likes of David Bowie and REM and its racks bulge with enough rare imports and classic pressings to give Jack White a month-long boner.
The local venues
Unlikely as it is, if you find yourself with an hour or two free in your Way Out West schedule – or a night to kill at either end – take a whistle-stop tour of the local gig scene. There’s Fängelset, a former prison transformed into an even scarier centre of Gothenburg’s metal scene, where there’s an upper age limit on entry – only 16 to 20-year-olds allowed. Or there’s the renowned Musikens Hus and the sprawling Henriksberg complex, including a restaurant, nightclub, pub and rooftop ballroom.
The trans-only clubs
Gothenburg has a thriving trans-gender scene and Klubb Åmål is its epicentre, a females and transgender only night playing a vast array of music from hip-hop to riot grrrl. “The pervading theme is glitter, tonnes of glitter,” its organisrs explained to Dazed. “Otherwise, we haven’t really thought of it that way. All kinds of people show up for Åmål: indie kids, rock’n’roll dykes, punks, intellectuals, skaters, queers.”
The Långgatorna area has the nickname Little London but should really be called Little Shoreditch, such is its preponderance of trendy craft beer bars and hipster haunts. Definitely the place to head to once Frank Ocean has pickled your tiny minds…