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LIVE REVIEW: Anna von Hausswolff, Jazzhouse, 22.01.2016

in Live Reviews by

Low frequency sounds and thunderous bass aren’t always associated with relaxation, but Anna von Hausswolff’s sold out Jazzhouse performance could have been billed that way. From the beginning of opener Berg’s set, the evening was one filled with a resonance humming mildly in the air, lulling the audience into a meditative state (though Berg might have taken it too far by burning patchouli incense on stage).

But it’s not a smooth transition to Anna’s set. She takes the stage with her band in an unassuming way, situated on a platform, sitting behind her organ, far removed from anyone in the audience. This means that when she crouches behind the instrument, we can’t see what she’s doing. And it seems like she’s ducked down for a long while when she finally announces that her sub-bass has blown out, and she’ll be back in about 10 minutes, leaving us with a light drone.

True to her word, it is only 10 minutes, standing in pulsating blue lights that remind you of being in an aquarium. While the glitch has robbed Anna of any bold introduction, the now-repaired sub-bass has the shock value of making your teeth rattle in your head. Despite this, it’s very soothing. Because there is so much emphasis on the lower end, the guitars are a whispery afterthought; the myriad pedals before the two guitarist contribute nothing to noise.

Anna herself can shriek like a banshee, but it blends so easily with the arrangements that, regardless of her pitch, there’s no harshness. And the way that she sways — in big swooping motions with her hair trailing behind her — suggests a different atmosphere and a different music, a playfulness and nonchalance out of step with the avant garde.

Given the technical delay, this is one night when the perfunctory leave-the-stage-to-denote-an-encore could have been skipped. Von Hausswolff returns very quickly for a solo performance of David Bowie’s “Warszawa” before her band rejoins her for the final number. It’s an up-beat, almost pop number, different from the rest of the evening that she closes her set with. It’s past midnight, and there’s an air of fatigue in the room now, but it’s a wise decision to send us off with one last burst of brightness.

LIVE REVIEW: Laibach, DR Koncerthuset, 16.01.2016

in Live Reviews by
Laibach (photo by Johannes Leszinski)

Photos by Johannes Leszinski

It’s hard to know what to expect of a Laibach show, even halfway through a Laibach show. Despite over 30 years as a band, they are a group whose reputation has surpassed their work and music, who are synonymous with fascist satire and singer Milan Fras’s strange headwear. Their performance at DR Koncerthuset was more minimalist than expected, and grandiose because of the pageantry managed with such a barebones set up.

Laibach photo by Johannes Leszinski

The focus of the drama is obviously Fras and his voice that sounds more than anything akin to Tuvan throat singing, especially when contrasted so extremely with Mina Špiler’s soprano. It’s in their movements: standing stock still when not singing, holding out their arms when they are singing like church choir directors, or the drummer crashing cymbals together with huge flourishes.

The first half is sweeping, slightly spacey ambient electronic, splintered by the vocal pairing. It’s unexpected when it’s interrupted by a fifteen-minute intermission that leads to, in the words of their pre-recorded voice over, something completely different. Let’s hand this over to John Oliver for a moment:

And he did.

It was an overstatement to bill the night as “Laibach play The Sound of Music,” as the posters did, when this was limited to four songs. And it was a little predictable that they were all arranged as Špiler accompanied by a piano before synth, drums, and Fras joining in (with the exception of “My Favorite Things,” which Fras sang alone while the items he describes in the song flashed on the screen behind him in the most consumerist manner possible).

But then things shift back from this strange diversion — as it really can only be thought of, whether or not it was what was advertised — to Laibach’s own work. Though a song like “the Whistleblowers” could fit in just as easily as a weird showtune (in the context of what we’ve just seen), there’s still the feeling that we’ve shifted to somewhere else yet again. Not ambient, not militaristic, not overtly satirical, and the most fascinating part is, if this kept going all evening, surely the tone would continue to change.

Laibach photo by Johannes Leszinski

After the encore, and before people can quite get through the studio doors, the John Oliver clip flashes up on the screen. It’s intercut with the band presumably in North Korea, and the suggestion that maybe their trip didn’t go especially well. But we’ll find out soon; the documentary will be out later this year.

First Hate announce shows and new EP

in Blog/New Music by

First Hate are ready with the long awaited follow up to 2014’s self-titled debut EP. Today (January 14th), it was announced that they’ve signed to Copenhagen label Escho and will release their second EP ‘The Mind Of A Gemini‘ on March 4th 2016. As one of the most hyped acts of 2015 was a busy year for the band touring Europe with Iceage, summer saw them play a number of festivals and they finished off the year with their own European headlining tour. Now they’re back with what has to be one of the most anticipated records of 2016. They’ll be back playing live at the beginning of March playing Lille Vega, Copenhagen (04.03) and Tape, Aarhus (05.03).

Get tickets for the Lille Vega show HERE

The Mind Of A Gemini‘ tracklisting:

  1. Infinite Horizon
  2. Warsawa
  3. The Mind Of A Gemini
  4. White Heron
  5. Trojan Horse
  6. Before

Our Top 20 Albums of 2015

in Blog by

Every December the staff of Here Today meet to decide our favourite albums of the year. It’s an ugly brawl, with scars lasting well into the next Spring. This year, to save ourselves a bit of dignity, we thought we’d ask our readers to pick the best of our 20 candidates for best album. The voting will end at midnight on the 20th of December, but we will be arguing the case for each album until the final day.

[yop_poll id=”2″ tr_id=””” show_results=”-1″]

Majical Cloudz – Are You Alone?

When relationships end, it can get ugly fast. Some people lash out, and some turn it inwards. The source of heartbreak on Majical Cloudz’s Are You Alone matter far less than the overarching contemplation of what it means to be in love or alone. The down tempo album of pianos, synths, and solo vocals on this particularly lovelorn album makes it your best friend and companion for rainy days or just days when you can’t bear to face the world. And it’s still got more dignity to it than a Netflix marathon.

Protomartyr – The Agent Intellect

Protomartyr had all the makings of the next garage rock band of the minute, but there are already enough swampy vocals out there. What there isn’t enough of is the deadpan delivery that makes this band instantly recognizable. It’s as if that voice has given them license to go ever so slightly off the rails; with atypical narratives and atypical song structures, The Agent Intellect wraps its frayed ends around you and grips tightly. All the proof you need is in the second movement of “Why Does It Shake?” If that doesn’t make it a contender for song of the year, there’s no hope for any of us.

Jamie xx – In Colour

It seems ridiculous that In Colour is actually Jamie xx’s debut album as a solo artist. After two LPs with the xx, producing Gil Scott Heron’s I’m New Here, and countless remixes, finally we have a full-length album with Jamie’s name on the cover. Not that he is alone: xx bandmates Romy Croft and Oliver Sim make an appearance, as well as Young Thug and Popcaan. The result is a bright collection of down-tempo dance tunes with a nostalgic bent.

Viet Cong – Viet Cong

The Canadian quartet’s self-titled album is a soundtrack through a dystopian fairyland (and with song titles like “Pointless Experience,” “Bunker Buster,” and “Death,” that’s not really projecting). Pulled between ambient synths and math rock guitars, pulsed by deceptively understated drums,Viet Cong falls into loops that you could easily roll through for hours at a time without wanting to break out of the cycle. You’ll snap out of it, though, when the faux nice-guy vocals kick in and remind you that these guys have a fatalist streak in them. It’s definitely one of the most exciting debut albums of the year.

Chelsea Wolfe – Abyss

It’s been exciting to watch Chelsea Wolfe develop as an artist, and even more still to see how she’s harnessed the competing elements of her music in new ways. Abyss is her most balanced record yet, allowing her voice to float through quieter arrangements instead of always serving as a contrast to the intensity and harshness of the noise she works with. Songs liked “Grey Matter” hit that sweet spot of letting her voice shine over the aggression instead of in spite of it, but never let us worry for a second. Wolfe can make even the ugliest noises sound beautiful.

Sufjan Stevens  – Carrie & Lowell

Where other albums this year have distinguished themselves in their inventive production, Sufjan Steven’s seventh studio album takes the opposite approach: the instrumentation is limited, often nothing more than a finger-picked guitar, and effects are kept to a minimum. What we are left with is the deep melancholy of Stevens’ soft vocals, and his lyrics of loss. As a counterpoint to this close focus on the singer-songwriter’s emotional state, there is a limpid precision to his playing that cuts through the whole record, elevating it from naked confession to finely-wrought statement.

Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper

Noah Lennox, co-founder of Animal Collective, returned with an album that showcases his signature blend of electronic pop and off-kilter psychedelia. It’s all there: the weird tropicana, angelic Brian Wilson voice, the bouncy synths. Noise and melody intertwine until they are indistinguishable from each other, lyrics melt into chorus-laden chants. Some critics have complained that none of this is particularly new with Panda Bear, but when the results are this good, it seems like a rather minor complaint.

Mbongwana Star – From Kinshasa

From Kinshasa to the Moon: this is the trajectory declared by the Congolese 7-piece at the beginning of their debut album. The record label may have neglected to append the destination to the album title, but the rest of the world hasn’t. It’s an often-bewildering journey, full of unfamiliar pulsating rhythms and dark bass lines, that don’t conform to what we would comfortably like to call ‘afro-beat’. Acoustic elements clash with lo-fi synths, the synchopated drums countered by the regularity of the electronic beats. It’s the sound of a big, busy, alien city moving into the future: crowded, idiosyncratic, chaotic and heady.

Father John Misty – I Love You, Honeybear

Some of us refused to believe that a member of Fleet Floxes could have a sense of humour. But say what you like about I Love You, Honeybear, it is not an album that takes itself very seriously. Josh Tillman has produced an album of nostalgic bar-ballads and folk love-hate songs suffused with bright colour and a sly wit. Perhaps what has captured the imagination of so many listeners is this odd juxtaposition between, on the one hand, Tillman’s emotional delivery and sentimental arrangements, and on the other, his withering treatment of millennial culture. It might be ridiculously mean-spirited, but if Bob Dylan’s “Idiot Wind” is anything to go by, most people are down with you insulting your former girlfriends as long as you do so in such an obvious way that it ends up biting your own ass.

Tobias Jesso Jr – Goon

Father John Misty was not the only one this year to make waves with some retro singer-songwriter nostalgia. But Tobias Jess Jr is less barroom depressive, more of a grand piano melancholic. Double-tracked vocals, minimal instrumentation, and heartfelt lyrics: it’s probably not a stretch to guess that plenty of weddings in 2016 are going to feature “Without You” on their playlist.

Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly

West-coast rap’s rising star exploded this year with To Pimp A Butterfly. Grandiose yet subtle, rooted yet avant-garde, the album is the perfect distillation of the best of both the old guard (Dre, Snoop, George Clinton, Ronald Isley) and the new (Thundercat, Flying Lotus, Rapsody). Full of the smoothest grooves and catchiest beats, the real strength of the album is how even the smallest details contribute to creating a vibrant, exciting whole. There is a moment at the end of “Wesley’s Theory”—when what sounds like a phone vibrating turns out to be the saxophone intro to the wild jazz of “For Free”— that perfectly sums up the level of creativity, humour and dedication that has had critics call this the definitive rap album of the decade.

Joanna Newsom – Divers

A new record from Joanna Newsom should always be considered a notable event. But if Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly can be considered a defining part of 2015, to say the same of Divers would feel faintly ridiculous. Divers is as much part of 1715 and 2215 as it is of this year. And that is what makes Newsom such a unique, fearless voice, one that can dedicate itself to the research of how humans work through and against time without even a hint of pretension. And an album whose first single opens with these lines is worthy of every accolade: “The cause is Ozymandian / the map of Sapokanikan / is sanded and bevelled / the land lone and levelled / by some unrecorded and powerful hand.”

Dick Diver – Melbourne, Florida

Sometimes what makes an album stand out is the reception it gets when you play it to other people. This year Dick Diver’s Melbourne, Florida stood out for this very reason. The sound is instantly familiar, songs distantly remembered from a past life, worming themselves back into your working memory. Those more familiar with the Aussie quartet will point out that the band have already made a name for themselves with their first three albums, but I can personally testify that everyone I’ve introduced to “Waste the Alphabet” and “Tearing the Posters Down” already has these engraved in their minds alongside the best that 80s and 90s indie pop ever produced. And don’t be fooled into taking this as twee: with song titles like “Beat Me Up (Talk To a Counsellor)”, there is a dark, caustic wit to Dick Diver that makes them worth anyone’s time.

Julia Holter – Have You In My Wilderness

After dazzling us with the dark, swirling chaos of Loud City Song in 2013, Julia Holter’s follow up, Have You In My Wilderness, presents itself as something of a return to the light. Gone are the dark horns and paranoid bass, replaced by harpsichord and dreamy strings. But don’t be fooled, there is still plenty of dark weirdness in Holter’s lyrics and vocal delivery. It’s just that they have been transferred into the bright, white room shown in the cover art. Opening with “Feel You” the closest thing to a pop-song Holter has ever produced, Have You In My Wilderness demonstrates a new, luxuriant side to an artist that will always be a part of Here Today’s personal pantheon.

Holly Herndon – Platform

If there’s an album that would be ridiculous to listen to in any analogue format, it’s Holly Herndon’s Platform. This collection of glitchy digital compositions captures the often-overlooked joys and perils of living through computers. Herndon has taken the Knife’s school of heavily-effected vocals to new extremes, sounding more like a computer that is trying to reconstruct music from a broken hard-drive. If that sounds a little off-putting, one can only respond that this is the whole point, but that is not to say that songs like “Chorus” and “Morning Sun” aren’t almost danceable. It’s just that they re-create what it’s like to listen to dance music on headphones, whilst browsing the internet: fractured, distracted, introverted. And it’s about time that we focused on the way that most of us listen to music day to day.

Blur – The Magic Whip

Since their reunion in 2009, Blur have peeked their heads around the corner every so often with a tour and a new single to make their existence more than a nostalgia trip. The Magic Whip, however, is the first real evidence that there is intention left in them. They’re a band whose members have gone in different directions in the last 10 years and brought those experiences back with them, but remember what it is everyone loves about them. Crunchy, abstract guitar solos? Check. Moody broody ballads? Check. Big, joyful singalong choruses? Check. Any memory of Britpop? Successfully traded for the here and now. Rather than argue that this is the best album of their career, it’s more apt to appreciate that this is exactly the record you would hope they would make now.

Jenny Hval – Apocalypse, Girl

It’s taken five albums, but with Apocalypse, Girl Jenny Hval has finally found a way to skip down the weird/accessible line with just the right balance. The Norwegian singer (who is one fourth Danish) got us all grooving to references to breast cancer and soft dicks, sneaking in feminist and anti-capitalist declarations with admirable wit. Her avant garde pop is a patchwork of electronic music, chilled beats, spoken word and gentle vocals. And yeah, you do feel a little dirty singing along to some of it (most of it?), but a huge part of Hval’s appeal is that she never forgets that the most effectively subversive music is, at its heart, fun.

Various Artists – Remembering Mountains: Unheard Songs by Karen Dalton

Karen Dalton was a literally unsung hero of the New York folk scene in the 60s. She released a couple of albums of covers, but was too affected by anxiety to keep recording, and never shared any of the songs she wrote herself. Fast forward to 20 years after her death and her songs are seeing the light of day, albeit through the interpretations of other artists. While Sharon Van Etten had chords for the title track, other artists had only lyrics to work with, making this album a collection of songs by artists like Julia Holter, Marissa Nadler, Isobel Campbell, and Josphine Foster, with lyrics by Dalton. The lineup alone should make Remembering Mountains an overlooked gem, but the thread of Dalton’s work tying the songs together makes it truly special.

New Order – Music Complete

New Order have existed under that name in various incarnations for 35 years, but they still hold a place as the quintessential party band for the types of kids who don’t get invited to a lot of parties. Music Complete will definitely get you dancing, and the loss of Peter Hook means that there’s something really genuine in the laments of broken relationships (and with such a distinctive style, Hook is actually pretty easy to copy). Plus the guest appearances from Iggy Pop, La Roux, and Brandon Flowers also bring in unique sinister vocals, over the top pop shine, and a kind of meta-New Order interpretation respectively.

Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit

Courtney Barnett is one of those artists that you really feel you could be friends with. She has no trouble relating the mundane in life with a dry delivery and a sense of humor that holds your interest. On Sometimes, she’s learned to use that voice to convey a deeper sense of ennui, as on “Depreston” and even hint at unexpected emotions other than boredom in “Dead Fox” before amping things back up with “No One Really Cares If  You Don’t Go to the Party.” And that’s really why Courtney Barnett could be our pal; she’ll tell crazy stories and entertain a full room, but probably spend the next two weeks hiding at home. We can get behind that.

Photos of the year 2015

in Blog/Photos by
Father John Misty

Photos by Tom Spray, Morten Aagaard Krogh and Amanda Farah

Every year Here Today’s talented photographers capture a little piece of the magic of live performances around Denmark. As the end of 2015 draws closer we’d like to revisit some of the best pictures to have been featured this year, and ask you to vote for the best. Add your email and one lucky voter will win a print copy of the top voted picture of 2015.

Voting ends at midnight on December the 20th.

 [yop_poll id=”1″ tr_id=””” show_results=”-1″]

Photo by Tom Spray
Deafheaven – Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
The Tallest Man On Earth – Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Run The Jewels – Photo by Tom Spray
Photo by Tom Spray
Foxygen – Photo by Tom Spray
Iceage (Photo by Tom Spray)
Iceage – Photo by Tom Spray


Photo by Tom Spray
Paul McCartney – Photo by Tom Spray
Belle and Sebastian. Photo by Amanda Farah
Belle and Sebastian. Photo by Amanda Farah
Viet Cong (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Viet Cong – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
St. Vincent (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
St. Vincent – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Future Islands - Photo Morten Aagaard Krogh
Future Islands – Photo Morten Aagaard Krogh
Photo by Morten Krogh
Bob Hund – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Fat White Family photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Fat White Family – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Father John Misty (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Father John Misty – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Ought (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)
Ought – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh


PHOTOS: John Grant, Vega, 29.11.2015

in Photos by
John Grant - Photo by Johannes Leszinski

Photos by Johannes Leszinski

John Grant - Photo by Johannes Leszinski

John Grant - Photo by Johannes Leszinski

John Grant - Photo by Johannes Leszinski

John Grant - Photo by Johannes Leszinski

LIVE REVIEW: John Grant, Store Vega, 29.11.2015

in Live Reviews by
John Grant - Photo by Johannes Leszinski

Photos by Johannes Leszinski

If John Grant’s professed love for Denmark is an act, it’s a damn convincing one. It’s not the first time he’s been on the stage at Store Vega, or spoken about how much he like the country, the people, and the “dope language” (and he speaks enough languages for this to be plausible). It’s not the first time that he’s told a crowd the story about naming the song “Queen of Denmark” for the country just because he likes it, even though he admits it has nothing to do with Denmark at all.

Some of that could be part of a script, but there is a mutual affection that circulates around the room. John Grant clearly loves what he does. His interactions with his band show how much they love what they do as well. Grant spends his songs wiggling and strutting about the stage, sometimes moving in a relaxed modification of the Robot and, as when he performs “You & Him,” gesticulating like his inner pop star is ready to burst out.


Though Grant has moved more into the electronic side of pop with his latest album, Grey Tickles, Black Pressure, when he pulls out stripped back songs like “Glacier” or, from his days with the Czars, “Drug,” his voice rings through the room and silences everyone. Because of this, the mix could have used more vocals in the louder songs, as the lower frequencies he works with compete too much with his range.

Asking for more vocals is asking for more of a good thing, though. When a technical problem threatened to derail “Black Belt,” and Grant suggested to his band that they just move on, the crowd protested, clearly hearing what wasn’t meant for them. And he listened again when an audience member called for “Outer Space.”


When Grant does play “Queen of Denmark,” everyone in the room treats the song like it’s their own, hugging the people they came to the show with and singing the last line of the song when prompted. It’s a strange warm and fuzzy feeling for song whose chorus suggests, “you bore the shit out of somebody else.” The love in the room was undeniably mutual.

As an aside, openers Fufanu were an odd fit for the evening, not sharing much in common with Grant other than his adopted home of Iceland. But the duo, fleshed out to a full band of androgynous, baby-faced boys for the tour, have an intense energy. Their singer twitched across the stage for half an hour to loud, electro-supported alt rock. They’re worth watching out for.

LIVE REVIEW: Deerhunter, Store Vega, 19.11.2015

in Live Reviews by
Deerhunter live at Vega

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Over the last fifteen years Deerhunter have distinguished themselves for uniting a passion for the weird and exoteric with an ear for classic pop hooks. From the noise experimentation of Weird Era Cont. to the back-to-basics garage-rock of Monomania, the band has always had a knack for incorporating eclectic influences without ever appearing derivative. And with a frontman as adorably charismatic as Bradford Cox, it isn’t surprising that I am being squeezed in every direction by the audience at Støre Vega.

But though they might be an engaging live act, Deerhunter are certainly an uncompromising group of musicians. Part of the anticipation of seeing them is not quite knowing what direction they will take. They gave us a taste of this with their newest release, Fading Frontier: preceded by the balls-out funkiness of “Snakeskin”, and opening with the comforting jangle of “All the Same”, the rest of the album takes a much quieter, subdued approach.

Tonight we find this strategy reversed. Bradford Cox is opening for his own band, under his Atlas Sound moniker, with a half-hour set of contemplative keyboard pieces. Accompanied only by a sampler, Cox fills the room with droning synths, looped beats and the odd sound of birds. It’s certainly an interesting side to Cox, reminiscent of his work on the soundtrack to the documentary Teenage, which was showing in the lobby of Vega before the show. But it’s not exactly an act to get the audience’s blood pumping.

Deerhunter live at Vega

 But of course, once the rest of the band takes the stage, there are plenty of chances to get the circulation going. Despite some initial issues with the sound, Deerhunter quickly gather momentum as they cover some of the catchiest parts of career so far. From Halcyon Digest‘s “Desire Lines” and “Revival” to Microcastle‘s “Cover Me (Slowly) / Agoraphobia”, the set consists of some of the best psychedelic indie pop written in the last two decades. And although some elements of their set conform their tradition, for instance how “Nothing Ever Happened” brilliantly transitions into a cover of the latter half of Patti Smith’s “Horses” , there are still surprises in store.

Tracks like “Rainwater Cassette Exchange” are re-imagined in a more rhythmically interesting, almost afro-beat flavour, giving the set a consistent feel, despite drawing from so many different ears of Deerhunter’s career. Towards the end the band transitions from pop tunes to more extended jam sessions. The aforementioned “Nothing Ever Happened” is extended to almost 20 minutes, miraculously never losing any of its focus and energy. Equally engaging and demanding, Deerhunter once more prove to be a highlight in anyone’s gig-going year.

LIVE REVIEW: Protomartyr, Loppen, 12.11.2015

in Live Reviews by
Protomartyr / Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh (

Photos: Morten Aagaard Krogh

Listening to any of Protomartyr’s albums, and in particular focusing on the deadpan delivery of singer Joe Casey, it’s that their show at Loppen will go one of two ways: Either Casey will be a complete maniac on stage, or he’ll match his dry delivery with every other aspect of his being.

As it turns out, it’s the latter of the two options. Casey is as nonchalant in his body language and facial expressions as his voice suggests he would be. When he does growl, he’ll immediately avert his gaze as though he surprised himself. It’s hard not to look at him, not just because he’s center stage, but because he’s in the middle of so much more overt activity. It’s especially clear at the halfway point in their set when they play “The Devil in His Youth” and the band band have loosened up and a few hoots are called from the crowd, but Casey is singing with one hand in his pocket.
Protomartyr / Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh (
This does serve to highlight the charm of their bassist rocking back and forth on his toes with surprising lightness. Protomartyr are not a bass-heavy band, and it would be easy to overlook his contributions, however when you can see him literally in time with their drummer, it is immediately clear just how strong their rhythm section is.

Their natural energy is a good counterpoint to a singer who, meanwhile, is placing a failed balloon animal that has made its way on stage next to his beers as though this were perfectly normal (in the encore, he’ll conjure that it’s a “sword – I hope”).

What makes such a reserved performance so watchable is undefinable, but by the time “Why Does It Shake?” rolls to a close we’ve all been sucked into the peculiarity. You definitely won’t get the same thrill just by turning up the volume on the album.

LIVE REVIEW: Chelsea Wolfe, Loppen, 06.11.2015

in Live Reviews by

Friday’s show at Loppen was the third time we’ve seen Chelsea Wolfe in the last 15 months. At this point, we know what to expect: We know Chelsea is a talented musician who surrounds herself with other talented musicians. We know there’s going to be a heavy gloom cut through with surprisingly delicate vocals — her latest album, Abyss, guarantees this. Any serious deviations from when we last saw her at Roskilde would come as bolts out of the blue. Since that didn’t happen, these are the details I’ve chosen to focus on instead:

  • When the band finally take the stage after an extended string introduction, there is a notable shift in the air. The chatty audience finally shushes and the growing noise develops a sinister quality.
  • Despite having a capable backing vocalist, looped vocal tracks play a big role in Chelsea’s performance. There is something disorienting and mildly fascinating in watching her stomp her loop pedals. Loppen is a physical good space for vocal harmonies.
  • No matter how many times I see her, I will never not be impressed by Chelsea’s backing band. I maintain that her drummer is half man, half machine.
    Chelsea Wolfe-2719
  • It is so much hotter in Loppen than it seems like it should be in November. I’m grateful to be leaning against a cool wall even if it obstructs my view of the stage. Chelsea, of course, is wearing something flowy and in this case one-sleeved. But the sleeve she has is long, and you have to admire that kind of commitment to a look.
  • “We Hit a Wall” elicits not only cheers from the audience, but huge smiles from those behind the soundboard.
  • “That was the song I came to hear, so now we can go,” says an American bro immediately after “We Hit a Wall.” Dude is standing at least 10 feet away from me and does not understand that his voice carries.
  • That said, watching rows of other audience members throw their heads forward at the same time is quite visually pleasing.
  • Chelsea has always been something of a shy performer. Maybe it’s the intimacy of the space, but this is the most engaged I’ve seen her. She plays guitar for nearly the entire set, and for the one song she doesn’t, she uses the stage more than I’ve seen her. It’s a nice development to see in an artist in a relatively short period of time.
    Chelsea Wolfe-2681
  • About an hour and a half, this is also far and away the longest set I’ve seen her play.
  • When the set ends in a squall of noise and feedback, she falls over her guitar repeatedly looking rather like she’s trying and failing to do push ups. Again: signs of shedding her more reserved stage persona.
  • To the parents who brought their slightly bored looking 9-year-old daughter with the giant, noise-canceling, pink headphones: Thank you, that was inspiring.
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