Diablo Swing Orchestra

Wacken - 2012

Text: Tobias Nilsson Photo: Lunah Lauridsen

Diablo Swing Orchestra was to be our final reviewed concert at Wacken 2012, and we chose to see them at the minimalistic Wackinger stage instead of checking out the grand main act’s farewell concert over at the main stages. Scorpions I believe it was, or possibly Machine Head; either way, I would much rather be here and see Diablo Swing Orchestra pull a swinging show out of their sleeves.

“We’re glad you stick with us through the worst weather of the whole day!”
- Daniel Håkansson (vocals/guitar)

Mr. Håkansson wasn’t lying, at the time of their show, the skies had more or less opened up, and we were standing in a massive downpour as the Gunpowder Chant began rolling out of the speakers to announce the start of the concert.
Up on the stage, the band didn’t seem to mind the wet weather too much, even though they were mostly standing so close to the edge of the stage that they were sure to feel it as well, being so close to the splatter-zone. Heck, they didn’t even stay on the stage all the time, at several times during the gig especially bassist Andy Johansson took a trip out to stand on the speakers in front of the stage, a trip Håkansson also tried a few times during the evening.
Whether or not they left the stage though, the entire band was in a great party mood and danced around, headbanged, and simply looked like they had one hell of a time! Well, saying the entire band is actually a bit of an exaggeration; you see, cellist Johannes Bergion wasn’t playing with the band this evening, for an unknown reason which wasn’t commented further by the band at the show. Even though I missed his energetic performance skills which he had displayed so well at Brutal Assault the last (and first) time we saw Diablo Swing Orchestra, his band mates made such an effort that there really wasn’t space for much else! Bergion had also handled a lot of the male vocals for the Brutal Assault gig, but here at Wacken it was Håkansson who took care of most of these, backed slightly by Pontus Mantefors (guitar), and newcomer on the trumpet, Martin Isaksson, nailed the high falsetto parts in a very good fashion. None of these voices could however compete with the tour de force of Annlouice Loeglund who, despite being one of the least moving persons on the stage, had an aura that reached far, and the small dance-steps she took livened up the show and helped keep things interesting.
Johan Norbäck (drums) and Daniel Hedin (trombone) weren’t quite as active as the rest of the band, but certainly held up their end of the deal as well – they were good, just not as active as some of the others. A reason for this could of course easily have been the choice of stage for the band, the Wackinger Stage is one of, quite possibly even the smallest, stage at Wacken at this time, and the band really didn’t have very much space to move about on...

“Do you wanna tap-dance in the mud?”
- Håkansson (vocals/guitar)

If there wasn’t space enough on the stage, this at least was a problem we in the crowd didn’t feel much of below it.
Sure, the crowd area for this stage isn’t huge exactly, but with the rain pouring down on us, and the much larger bands inhabiting the main stages at the same time as Diablo Swing Orchestra were playing, it wasn’t exactly surprising that the dark rain-poncho clad crowd didn’t need to fight for elbow-room. That being said, I was actually surprised to see the amount of people who had shown up, in part because of the circumstances I have already mentioned, and in part because at least where I live, Diablo Swing Orchestra isn’t very well known, not to say almost completely overlooked.
Hence it was a joy to see the people taking an active part in partying with the band as they played, showing them much love throughout their much too short time on the stage.
The darkness combined with the copious amount of mud made it dangerous to move about, and still people were doing their best to dance and mosh – it wasn’t the wildest crowd ever seen, but we were giving it as much as we could.

Having collected all of their three albums since the last time we saw them, and with a rather clear memory of that show in my mind, I can honestly say that my expectations for Diablo Swing Orchestra were quite high.
Some of these expectations were met, others surpassed and other still not quite met. The band did what they could, no doubt about that, and having a better knowledge of their songs also helped a lot, but the lousy weather, almost constant rain, and the small stage which limited the band’s movement also took a toll on the overall feeling. Also, I was saddened by the fact that they didn’t play Justice For Saint Mary, that song would have completely nailed the ending of the show and the festival...
Don’t get me wrong though, after the concert was done there wasn’t a single regret about having chosen this band over something else, and could be seen smiling all the way back to my tent that night.


Gunpowder Chant
Poetic Pitbull Revolutions
Bedlam Sticks
Voodoo Mon Amour
Lucy Fears The Morning Star
Guerilla Laments
A Tap Dancer’s Dilemma
Vodka Inferno
Balrog Boogie

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