The Radio Dept, live at Playtime Festival, Ulaanbaatar – June 2016

The Radio Dept, live at Playtime Festival, Ulaanbaatar – June 2016

When I went looking to see if there were any decent, complete Radio Dept shows on the YouTube, I did not expect to find one from Mongolia but hey – the world is a big place. The band were headlining the Playtime Festival in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia while on tour for their 2016 release Running Out Of Love, and the notion of “Radio Dept, festival headliner” also takes a little to wrap your head around. Because as much as I love the band, I would never posit them as a “biggest font on the poster” kind of act1… but then, I’ve always said that the way to become a festival headliner is to headline a festival so there it is.

When asked about “why Mongolia?” by the South China Morning Post in 2016, Duncanson said:

“We said we were not going to tour before the next album is out, but then we got this offer to play in Mongolia. We only said yes because we haven’t been there before.’’

Johan Duncanson
Why Swedish band The Radio Dept will only play gigs in Asia @ South China Morning Post

And expanded on the sentiment a bit talking to That’s Shanghai magazine:

It’s so great that our music can travel so far, we’ve never expected to play in Mongolia, but it seems like we have a solid fan base there. We’ve been invited to play the Playtime Festival [in Mongolia], will be a big thing, so it’s great that we can travel to these new places and discover new cultures. That’s what it is all about. Our lifetime is so short, it would be great to tell my grandchildren some stories some day about all the places that we’ve visit as a band. There are still so many places to discover. [We] would really want to go to some places in South America one day. 

Johan Duncanson
The Radio Dept. On Their Upcoming Album and Tour @ That’s Shanghai

Still, I think my favourite thing about it is that for the full, professional backline the festival has provided – Fender Twins, Marshall stacks – you can see Johan Duncanson is still plugged into his little 10-watt Samick solid-state practice amp. “Hey man, that’s my sound. And it fits under the plane seat.”

1 It’s worth noting that the first time I saw them live in 2009, they were headlining NYC Popfest for their first North American shows, but headlining a little club-level niche fest is a very different thing from a big outdoor to-do.

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