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Who was that band?

Swedish rockers TSOOL raised the roof at WSSF last Sunday It was not the best weather for starters – freezing rain is not exactly what I’d call festival friendly. But the band played on.

Swedish rockers TSOOL raised the roof at WSSF last Sunday

It was not the best weather for starters – freezing rain is not exactly what I’d call festival friendly. But the band played on. And upwards, to a growing, gregarious audience that eventually didn’t want the band to leave; to an audience who 15 minutes beforehand didn’t have a clue what they were witnessing; to an audience who started at, maybe, a hundred and finished at quadruple the size; to an audience who chanted "encore" even though they didn’t know what the band’s name was.

Whistler, let me introduce you to The Soundtrack Of Our Lives, also known as TSOOL. And they would have to have been one of the most impressive acts I’ve ever seen.

Here’s a quick summary: TSOOL are huge in their homeland of Sweden and continental Europe. It’s not unusual for them to pack out a 5,000 thick stadium. They’ve toured the world, put out three successful albums and their music could perhaps be best described as psychedelic rock ’n’ roll, not unlike The Who with a little Neil Young and the Rolling Stones thrown in. Think an uplifting Pink Floyd. Modern day comparisons could be the Verve or Oasis but with much more personality, stage presence and anthem-styled songwriting.

To many of the movers and shakers in the music scene, they are the biggest thing to come out of Scandinavia since well, Abba. North America’s Rolling Stone and Spin magazines named TSOOL’s latest Grammy-nominated album, Behind the Music , one of the 50 best albums of the year. Toronto’s Eye Weekly ranked it Number One. They were one of Nirvana’s favourite bands. They toured with Oasis through North America at Noel Gallagher’s personal request, and even members of the Rolling Stones entourage specifically asked TSOOL to open for them.

So how do you think they felt coming out to Whistler performing for a crowd full of strangers?

"We just love it," enthused charismatic lead-singer Ebbott Lundberg. "Our perfect match is when you go on stage and nobody knows who you are and everybody instantly hates you. And you start to play and turn the whole thing around. We love doing that. It’s good to have everyone singing along and screaming but I prefer the hard way, the challenge of being nobodies."

The challenge most certainly paid off last Sunday. The reaction was impressive.

"It’s just great to be embraced like this. It feels again like the shows have meaning. It’s the same reaction everywhere we go."

Lundgren and the rest of the TSOOL members have been touring across North America to rave reviews at every port. With three guitarists on stage going off in tight unison, a keyboardist who jumps up and down between two pianos, a manic drummer and then Lundberg who gyrates and gesticulates in his trademark Arabic kaftan belting out the tunes, it was hard not to be impressed.

For the Whistler set, Lundberg jumped into the crowd, heading straight to the back of the pack, having fun with new fans along the way and even meeting a couple of guys waving the Swedish flag. On stage the guitarists kept up pace, with one ripping off his Union Jack jacket with unbridled passion, another tore open his shirt, and the other fell to his knees in a finger playing frenzy. One member had an uncanny resemblance to AC-DC’s Angus Young for most of the show, kicking his heels thigh-high with each sudden strum. The crowd went nuts.

Lundberg finds it’s the adventurous types who enjoy their music most.

"If you’re looking for something different, something very unpredictable, I think our band satisfies. We play for people who like being on the edge of something. I can’t really stand stiff people – they should all get together and move to Switzerland."

And with that, the Swedish psychedelic warlords The Soundtrack Of Our Lives bid farewell and headed for the Rockies.