Torres isn’t a newcomer, but like many artists playing in Denmark for the first time, she’s amazed that people have heard of her. And while there are maybe 40 people at Loppen on a Tuesday, these are people who know her music well. It’s a crowd that cheers for older songs and that applauds for a little too long after every song.
Opener Katie Harkin — once the frontwoman of indie rockers Sky Larkin, lately of Courtney Barnet’s touring band — leads a formidable charge. She’s performing to a nearly-empty room, encouraging people to come forward in a time of social distancing, but she has a tremendous, warm stage presence. She gives us a taste of her debut solo album (simply under Harkin), stripped down to just her vocals and electric guitar. “It’s such a strange time to be traveling,” she says, introducing her new single and not knowing how much stranger things are going to get. “This is for all of us.”
When Torres takes the stage, it feels like a blast of all of the pent-up energy we know we need to preemptively get out of our systems. For all the seriousness of her songs, she jumps back and forth with a great playfulness while wearing a pair of cowgirl boots.
While there’s a heavy dose of crunchy rock from her earlier albums, the focus of the evening is on her new album, Silver Tongue. While programmed drums and synths keep things suitably unpredictable, it’s the pedal steel on these newer songs that lends them a real sense of drama, particularly on “Last Forest” and the album’s title track. This wide range of compositions from her more alt-rock previous albums to the complexly composed new release also gives Torres a chance to show the amazing breadth of her vocals. The extremes come out between the quiet whispers of “Gracious Day” and the full-throated yop of “Sprinter.”
Torres also reveals the meaning behind the name Silver Tongue, an expression that refers to someone’s ability — for better or worse — to persuade others. “This is an album about persuading people to believe in the greater good,” she says.
We had a suspicion going into the evening that this would probably be the last gig we would go to for a while. Government recommendations have ensured that this is true. So until things start to resemble what we were used to, at least we can say that this was a show worth going out for. And until then, may we can hold onto the album’s sentiment.