THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES at the Point Loma Quality Inn Hotel, March 23
”They’re gonna a build a new dimensionAnd make a soundtrack of our livesThey‘re gonna build a new dimensionAnd drill a hole of imaginary time,“ sings Ebbot Lundberg on the Swedish six-piece the Soundtrack of Our Lives’ ”Firmament Vacation (A Soundtrack of Our Lives),“ a 1996 song that can be read as a sideways-statement of purpose for a band firmly lodged in 1966–1974.
Tonight, a portal to that new dimension has been opened in the unlikely location of Point Loma‘s Cactus Rose Saloon, a studiously bland hotel bar that’s usually host to country-and-western hickery, not squads of unrepentant mods, rockers and Summer of Love hippies. And yet here we are — thanks to the for-the-love-of-it work of Mike and Anja Stax‘s Hipsters club — in a temporary ’60s wonderlounge of oil-lamp projections, wall-size pop-art murals, and onstage go-go dancers decked out in blue-and-white Swedish-flag blouses. The vibe is groovy rather than kitschy; it‘s the kind of show where the opening bands’ lack of polishtalent is made up for by their enthusiasm, the endearing presence of family members and friends from work in the audience, and the knowledge that the Greatest Meat-and-Potatoes-and-Space-Cakes Rock & Roll Band in the World is gonna arrive onstage any minute. That may sound mad, but give a listen to any of the Soundtrack of Our Lives‘ wonderful worth-the-search (and yes, English-language) albums — this is a band that actually measures up musically, lyrically and performance-wise to their obvious inspirations: the Who, the Stones, early Pink Floyd, the Beatles, the Doors, the Faces, etc.
Tonight, as with the band’s show earlier in the week at the Roxy, front man Ebbot is the beer-torsoed weirdbeard in a mumu, opening up his big ol‘ psychedelic soul on one song, goofballing it like a class clown through the next, roaming the audience in the third, testifying in the fourth. He’s a sweet cross between Jim Morrison, Dennis Wilson and that guy from ABBA, and he‘s a generous presence: To look at this Uncle Rock and frown seems as impossible as not complying when he asks everyone to sit down midway through the affably admonitory ”21st Century Rip Off.“ (Incredibly, everyone does.) The band rocks and booms, stomps and boogies; by the end of the set they’re taking choice requests from the audience of fewer than 200, most of whom have never heard the band before.
”It‘s a special night,“ says Ebbot at one point, beaming. Indeed. Let’s hope we get to visit this dimension again sometime soon.