Let's Get Wet: Mando Diao at the 400 Bar


Mando Diao / 400 Bar / May 8, 2007 Text by Sarah Askari | Photos by Daniel Corrigan

As the leaky roof lets the rain pour in, floodwaters rise inside the 400 Bar, and large puddles form in lowland areas in front of the bar.

Up onstage, Swedish garage rock quintet Mando Diao shake and shout with enough energy to crack the heavens open and bring down a deluge. On tour in support of their new album, Ode to Ochrasy, the band combines the best of Brit-influenced guitar jangles with a jagged edge of dark pop.

Guitarists Bjorn Dixgard and Gustaf Noren alternate singing duties. Sometimes they trade verses on a song, and when their sweaty bangs and guitar necks fly around as they go back and forth with each other at the mic, you reflect on bands that offer only one singer, and feel ripped off. This is the thing all bands should be doing! This thing that Mando Diao gives you, this thing is the exhilarating, ecstatic rock experience of your dreams, where storytelling and melody keep up with rousing guitar riffs and barricade-charging drumming.

It doesn't matter if there's an insole cushion of water in your shoe or that fetid water is dripping on your forehead. When Mando Diao sing "Bombs over the street, bombs all over the subway!" you're ready to go back into the rainy night and join the urban guerillas. What are we fighting against? Norway? Alt-country? As long as the band keeps playing, I can do without the specifics.

Text by Sarah Askari | Photos by Daniel Corrigan