Abramis Brama

KB, Malmö - 2018

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Abramis Brama is the Latin name of a fish, the common bream. It’s also the name of a Swedish hard rock band playing retro late ‘Sixties / early ‘Seventies hard rock. There’s something inherently fishy about using them as support for Tiamat, if you ask me.

The show opened with a folky melody played on violins (audiotrack), which both surprised and put me in a good mood. The musicians, Per-Olof Andersson (guitar), Mats Rydström (bass), Fredrik Liefvendahl (drums), took the stage, and slid into the music before completely taking it over. Since I didn’t know the band from before, and both Andersson and Rydström were equipped with microphones, I figured the band was a trio, but all of a sudden a bolt of white shot out from the side, and slid to a halt at the centre of the stage - this was Ulf Torkelsson, an energy bomb that quickly established himself as the vocalist of the band. What’s more, it was established that this band was singing in Swedish, an unusual choice in this genre. They have released one album in English, but apparently it only consists of re-recorded material with translated lyrics, so there.

The folky influence was quickly dropped, and we were now in chuggy retro country, in the style of early Black Sabbath, Grand Funk Railroad, and others of that same ilk. I admit, the Swedish vocals gave it a tint of the Swedish ballad tradition, but not quite enough to make it stick out. This was good, but since it’s not really my kind of genre, with few exceptions, the music alone only held my interest for a few tracks, after which I began hoping for something to happen, something that would change the pace up a bit. I would have loved more of the folkish influence they displayed with their intro, but it never happened.

Performance ways, Abramis Brama was more on point. Already in the musical opening, I noticed a good groove in the band members, and Torkelsson’s entrance was a great energy boost. Torkelsson would keep the energy going through the show, with his bare belly and bare feet, alternating between a tambourine and maracas (both of which were not mic’ed up, and thus nearly inaudible) to begin with, bring in a harmonica later on for a solo, and lastly going amok with a cowbell(!).
It wasn’t just Torkelsson though, the rest of the band was backing him up really nicely, especially so Rydström.
Abramis Brama wasn’t making much headway with the small crowd however, and despite a handful of people grooving along in the front, most were keeping their distance, respectfully clapping their hands between songs, but other than that taking it easy. The lack of response isn’t on the band though, not to my mind, but rather the strange clash of styles between support and main artist. You see it happen from time to time, and this was a class example, sadly for Abramis Brama. With the right crowd, I’m sure they could have rocked the house in a much bigger way.

Personally, I wasn’t the right crowd either I must confess, and after being well entertained for the first couple of songs, my interest fell. In the end, I appreciate the effort, and I’ve got to hand it to them that they have their expression down, and Torkelsson’s vocals were on point and fitting. This just wasn’t for me, that’s all.

Abramis Brama

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