Wow, it’s been a busy few weeks. Don’t know how I ever had time to go to work! It’s almost a month ago already and I’m just finding the time to sit down and write this. The trip to Sweden began on the evening of Wednesday 4th September when we gathered in the grimy rehearsal room at Survival Studios in Acton Town. Rotten carpets, microphones that smell of beer, faulty channels on the pa, machine coffee, indie rock and Sadie. As well as running the set, which now includes a couple more songs from the first album, this evening’s get together gave us all a chance to digest the marvelous book compiled by Shelley Hasseldine. Bound in leather and titled ‘Sadie and the Hotheads, From The Beginning’, the compilation of thoughts, dreams, observations, quotations, photos, facts and figures, is a labour of love which took Shelley eight months to complete. The research and presentation are phenomenal and we turned the pages in wonder. Thank you Shelley for your time and dedication, it was inspiring and energizing to see our history laid out before us and we’ll be bringing the book to the Hippodrome gigs in November for those who would like a peek…

And so, to September 6th. Autumn closing in. A dark, 5.15am start, leaving sleeping families, riding the rails from all corners of the capital (and beyond) to Gatwick. Rattling through South London, a few zombies on the whistle past platforms and a scattering of thoughtful souls en route to who knows where. 6.50am. Gatwick. The minutes tick by as the airport comes to life, filling up with early travelers. By 9am we’re boarded and ready for take-off on Norwegian Airlines, bound for Stockholm. England is shrouded in mist and it’s raining for the first time in a long time…. flying east, there are storm clouds on the horizon, while here, up above the clouds, the sun is shining…

11.40am and we’re over the west coast of the Kingdom of Sweden, third largest country in the EU by area, with a low population density concentrated mostly in the south. Since 1814, Sweden has been at peace, practicing “non-participation in military alliances during peacetime and neutrality during wartime”. In 2013, ‘The Economist’ declared the Nordic countries to be “probably the best governed in the world” with Sweden in first place…. 50 minutes from touchdown, looking down on lakes and forest… later, after checking in at the Hotel Rica on Kungsgaten we walk over to Nalen for load in and soundcheck… the staff are fantastic, the backstage hospitality marvelous and the gig a resounding success…. it was great to perform ‘Mama’s Hands’ and ‘I Miss You’ for the first time….

On Saturday 7th we took the 10.21am train from Stockholm to Malmo. Four and half hours of blue sky, farmland, more lakes and forests. The landscape is largely deserted with about 85% of the population living in urban areas…. after hot chocolate and a cinnamon bun in the bistro car we pull into Malmo… the commercial centre of southern Sweden with 300,000 residents from around 170 different nationalities. The city is part of the expanding Oresund region and is joined to Copenhagen in Denmark by the magnificent Oresund bridge. Tonight’s gig is at the unique Victoria Theatre. Over 100 years old, this old silent movie theatre houses ‘picnic’ concerts and events where the audience bring their own food and drink. We are arriving at these gigs with little idea of what to expect and loved this from the moment we entered the building. Stepping out on the stage and gazing out at the candle-lit audience was thrilling and magical. This was Sadie’s perfect venue and, thanks to the people of Malmo a very special, two encore, evening…

Sunday 8th, after a lie-in and late breakfast, we catch the 12.02 train to Gothenburg. The weather still good as we roll north… Gothenburg, home of Volvo and the second largest city in Sweden, is currently making a name for itself as a new hive of the creative arts. With its homegrown fashion labels and upstart indie bands, its rollicking craft beer bars and alternative arts scene, Gothenburg is also the fitting host to Scandinavia’s leading film festival and hugely popular music festivals, including Summerburst and Way Out West (maybe next summer?!)…. after a quick check-in at the hotel it’s over to the legendary Nefertiti Jazz Club for the final gig of our short visit. All the gigs are different and tonight’s dimly lit basement, cramped stage and up-close audience creates its own special atmosphere… a more subdued but highly enjoyable end to the mini-tour… Monday 9th. After a stroll around the lovely lanes and avenues of the city we head out to the airport for the return flight to Gatwick… can’t wait till next time. Thank you Sweden.


Sweden 2013 Gallery

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0 # Elizabeth Conrad 2013-10-31 21:50
Such a joy to read about your tour in Sweden! And happy to hear about Shelley's book. xx
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