On the morning of 25th of November, a friend of mine shared a link on Facebook. I consider that friend a respected voice in the subject of funkiness, which got me interested. Minutes later I listened to the album ”Solar Satisfaction” by the Gothenburg-based band Manganas Garden. I was floored, to say the least. And to my surprise, they were gonna play the Stockholm-venue Obaren that same evening.
Of course, I needed to put on my dancing shoes and get my arse over there!
The sound of Manganas Garden is similar to other indie rock bands with a funky vibe, like Danish Vincent Van GoGo, the groovier parts of OK Go or Empire of the Sun. The difference is that the indie pop-influence is secondary for Manganas Garden.
Standing on the Obaren stage this evening are clearly five guys with their main focus on soul music.
The bass player, Isak Nygren, who’s new to the band, tastefully slaps his way through the gig and guitar player Melker Petterson has his roots in Hendrix or Funkadelic, rather than indie rock strumming. At times they also sound like the Doobie Brothers for the 21st century, not least because of the frequent beautiful falsetto-vocals from singer Tom Serner.
Modern funk music, or rather disco music, has a tendency of getting retrospective, mimicking a time gone by. And don’t get me wrong, I often dig it. But this is something different.
Manganas Garden takes the disco-trend that has been going on ever since Daft Punk released ”Random Access Memories” a few years back, and perfects and modernises it to the max.
Attached to tonight’s small-roomed venue is the fancy restaurant Sturehof, in the exclusive Östermalm area of Stockholm. Does everyone in the audience realize that what they are witnessing is just oozing of acid jazz, disco, funk and soul? The indie kids can dig it as well as a funkateer like myself.
The peak of the concert happens when the band covers classic Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) song ”Evil Woman”. It’s in a sense a perfect manifestation of the argument I have put forward in this whole review, that Manganas Garden takes an old sound, and with small means, makes it sound relevant and modern.
Mark my words: these guys are the future of funk and disco in Sweden, and next time they will play a venue a lot bigger than little Obaren!