Räfven @ Shibuya Club Quattro (Oct. 8th, 2015)

Räfven brings the vibes everytime
Live Report : “Räfven brings the vibes everytime” @ Shibuya Club Quattro 2015.10.08

Räfven

In a festival as big as Fuji Rock Music Festival, hosting world famous bands and DJs the likes of Foo Fighters, Muse, Deadmau5, Motorhead, Noel Gallagher and more, it was a small Swedish gypsy band who possibly made the most waves and turned the most heads. Sweden’s gyspsy punkers, Räfven played every day of the festival, often multiple times and guested in a few sets as well. They were a blast of energy every performance and certainly gained more than a few new fans in the process. The thing is, this wasn’t the first time Räfven pulled off such a feat. They did the same thing at Fuji Rock 6 years ago in 2009, winning over a (now) slightly older generation of Fujirockers.

So, even though the boys played in Japan just a few short months ago, they still had legions of fans, young and old packed into Shibuya’s Club Quattro on a Thursday night. The group of 8 brought the summer festival vibes on a cool October evening. They’re a band that only seems content when playing and partying together with anyone that will join in. Guitarist Jonas Lundberg took to the mic early to confirm the senitment, “If something gets boring, pick up an instrument and vibes will be perfect.”

I knew the band would be on point and ready to roll. Tonight’s Shibuya crowd was equally up to the challenge of keeping up their energy to that of a band that finishes every set stripped down and dripping in sweat. To their credit, the crowd wasn’t simply a selection of festival goers stumbling upon Räfven in passing. This was a group who paid their hard earned cash to party solely with Räfven for a couple of hours. It wasn’t surprising then, the place was jumping pretty much non-stop for the duration of the set.

RäfvenThe 3-stop Japan tour saw Räfven play back to back Club Quattro nights in Tokyo then Osaka with a final performance at Asagiri Jam, in Shizuoka. Räfven is still touring their new album from earlier this year, Bring Back The Dinos. I recognised a few tunes off the album such as Diskotek, Bayram and T-Fox. However, they didnt stop there, Räfven played loads more than Dino’s 14 track offering. I started to jot down song titles but the thought occurred that when watching a Swedish folk band perform in Japan, it isn’t about tune names, lyrics or spoken language. It’s all about the vibes and the feeling expressed; the non-verbal communication between the band and the audience and within the band itself. Räfven speaks this language better than almost anyone.

Räfven has been around for over 10 years now and is known for playing tons of live shows. They’re very comfortable in front of a crowd and playing together just for the sake of a good time. You get the sense that it’s not about record sales or money with them, but just playing and partying together with as many people as possible. They know how to have a good time and they know how to bring anyone in their vicinity along for the ride. Tonight was a prime example. They played Swedish folk songs, waltzes, guitar solos, sang along with the crowd using “oi’s” and “oo’s” and even brought out a couple of unexpected special guests.

RäfvenThe first of their guests was Riddimates’ trumpeter/producer Buchi*, who jammed along with the boys for a couple tracks and delivered a tasty little solo to the delight of fans. The real fireworks however, came near the end of the set as Räfven invited out sister sweethearts of Japanese gypsy-folk, Charan Po Rantan. The little collaboration harked back to this past summer’s Fuji Rock when both Räfven and Charan Po Rantan guested each other’s sets. Each time they managed to push energy levels to the highest mountain ranges of Sweden and beyond. Tonight was no different. Within a few minutes, Koharu was engaged in a killer accordion battle with Räfven’s Johan Dahlkvist and Momo had been hoisted upon the shoulders of Räfven’s gargantuan viking violinist, Loke Nyberg. The set reached manic levels as the evening’s track count reached close to 30; the crowd still didn’t let up.

Räfven soon left the stage with the promise, because the crowd “all looked so beautiful, we will sing with you some more.” An encore was never in doubt and included a track with lyrics changed to include the words ‘Nihon’ (meaning Japan) repeated over and over which got the whole place singing along. The inevitable final number came with both Buchi* and Charan Po Rantan back on stage to close out the party. Even when the music stopped the whole of Quattro, the crowd, and the sweaty revellers up on stage, were still chanting together. The party wasn’t over, it was just a break in the action until next time. Wherever Räfven goes the vibes follow and I know Japan will always be ready to join in.

–>Live Photos

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Photos:
Natsumi Arakawa

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Text:
James Mallion
james@smashingmag.net

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