The Soundtrack of Our Lives w/Caesars


March 20, 2003, Irving Plaza, NY, NY

On the surface, they might come off as relatively straightforward—a ‘60s rock & roll flashback—but from the second The Soundtrack of Our Lives took the stage at Irving Plaza, it was evident that they were far more complicated. Draped in a large black cloak with the TSOOL insignia on his mic-holding arm, the bearded frontman Ebbot Lundberg appeared more like a high priest than a rock singer, and the rest of the band looked like disciples he had recruited from the recesses of an undiscovered Scandinavian forest. But rock out they did, like the veterans that they actually are—from the opening chords of Infra Riot to the contagious riffs of Sister Surround. 

Ebbot had a commanding presence, looming at the edge of the stage with one foot on the monitor, like a Viking captain on the bowsprit of a longship. His vocal delivery was a bit more subtle and feminine than expected from such a burly physique, and his voice was laced with a residue of psychedelic nasal whining from the band’s more psychedelic days. Ebbot was flanked by dueling guitarists, Ian Person and Mattias Bärjed, each with their own unique contributions. Ian looked like a stylish Swedish pirate with manicured 5-day stubble, hoop earrings in both ears, and a Duran Duran throwback scarf draped over his blonde hairy chest. His ring-studded fingers were all over the perpetually capo’ed fretboard, like the strings were being spun by his fingers. He could still lay down meaty hooks while doing backbends (or letting other members of the band mash their faces in his crotch). Mattias went more for the mod appeal, sporting a union jack blazer and executing gymnastic Pete Townsend leg kicks. Drummer Fredrik Sandsten, looking more like a retired tennis player, was the solid fixture of the band, keeping a steady double-bass beat punctuated with raised-arm stick twirls. As the night progressed, keyboardist Martin Hederos slipped further and further off his stool until eventually he was groveling on the ground, slurping up remnants from discarded beer cans. He managed to sober up in time to play the organ that drives the somber Broken Imaginary Time. But the most memorable character in troupe was bassist Karl ‘Kalle’ Gustafsson. Sporting undersized white karate tights, curling flapper sideburns, and a gold tooth capping his rabbit teeth, Kalle pranced around like a perverse elf, stroking and pulling on the neck of his bass like he was subduing a wild goose.

After an energizing set of circus heroics, Ebbot raised his arms in dramatic fashion and demanded that the ravenous audience sit on the floor if they wanted an encore—and, like a congregation of true believers, everybody in the house listened and obeyed. The music was accessible yet complex; oddly familiar yet refreshing; playful but serious; and European with universal appeal. And despite the meaningful contradictions and complex mishmash of sonic styles, they kept the crowd captivated by a sensation that they were witnessing something entirely new.

  get the Soundtrack of Our Lives at 73x18Tower Records Logo


Priming the pump for TSOOL were fellow Swedes, the Caesars—further evidence that some of the best classic rock these days is coming from the garages of Sweden. They came armed with a repertoire of no-frills nostalgic melodies, from the psychedelic Kick You Out to the infectious Sort It Out.

get the Caesars at 73x18Tower Records Logo

(C) 2003 Text by Derek White, photos by Chris Siess.