You probably didn’t know about it, because it was not very well publicised at all, but last night the ace Swedish pop/rock act The Ark played a concert at the Scala in King’s Cross, London. I arrived a little while before the support act, who were a bunch of posey indie-rockers with some of the most boring songs I’ve ever heard, going by the equally unexciting name of Everything On Black. At last, an hour later, The Ark took to the stage. Flamboyant singer Ola Salo was last of the band to appear and gained a huge cheer from the small crowd of supporters, most of whom I’d noticed had Swedish accents or were actually speaking Swedish.
They began the show with rocktastic single Clamour For Glamour, followed by the gay anthem Father Of A Son. I can’t remember the exact setlist but it included all of their best songs – Deliver Us From Free Will, Rock City Wankers (which Ola said was about Londoners – charming!), It Takes A Fool To Remain Sane, Let Your Body Decide, The Others, One Of Us Is Gonna Die Young, Trust Is Shareware, This Piece Of Poetry Is Meant To Do Harm and other lengthily-titled masterpieces (ending on the brilliant Calleth You, Cometh I). Ola began the show dressed in black leather trousers and jacket with a big furry collar and accessorised with a silver necklace with lots of sparkly bits hanging off it and a police-style hat (one of the soft ones a bit like a beret, not the hard, tall ones), but the jacket was soon removed as he got very hot and sweaty and for the last few songs the whole band changed into white outfits, the shirt of which again got quickly removed in Ola’s case.
When the band left the stage towards the end of the show and it was uncertain if they would come back, a very strange thing happened. The room was suddenly full of people yelling what sounded like “egg on bread!” again and again. After a few minutes I realised they were actually saying “encore” in Swedish! The whole concert in fact was like a little piece of Sweden in the middle of London, because The Ark are so unknown in the UK, the only people who’d know them would either be Swedish or into Swedish stuff, like me. What was amusing that every couple of songs Ola shouted out “We are The Ark! From Sweden!”, since we clearly didn’t need reminding of either fact.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with The Ark as a live act. Although not all of their album tracks are quite up to their best, they have so many songs that are brilliant that they easily filled an hour and fifteen minutes with 100% ace music. I would definitely recommend going along to see them if they come to the UK again (or wherever you live), although you may leave wondering why the rock bands in our charts aren’t fun like The Ark.