The stage is adorned with peacock feathers, instantly creating its’ own unique and rather beautiful ambience. I like this a lot.
The band take to the stage in Clockwork Orange-esque outfits. The lead singer has a shiny cape. Two of the band are sporting moustaches (dodgy ones too). I like this less. But I have an admiration for the absurd. I also like when bands don’t look how you would expect them to. I’m bored of seeing skinny boys with skinny ties and forward-brushed hair. And although the violinist does wear his hair in such a way, he is also dressed vaguely like an Oompa-Loompa so I feel optimistic about the show.
And my optimism is rewarded with the best show I’ve seen all year. If you haven’t heard them, they’re a difficult band to explain but think Sigur Ros crossed with Arcade Fire covering Viking sea-shanties and you’re in the right ballpark. There is definitely a discernible earnestness radiating from the band but they are also glowing with the joy of playing these beautiful, celebratory songs. These are songs to lose yourself in, songs that make you feel woozy with their sense of other-worldliness. Because though these tunes may be of this world, it’s not a world that exists in Dublin. They’re songs borne of Scandinavian winters and 4am sunrises.
The band are percussive-heavy, with main vocalist, Casper Clausen also striking a snare and some broken cymbals which are about one wallop away from total demolition. The main drummer plays the drums unlike most rock drummers. But it’s not really jazz drumming either. He drums as part of the complete music as opposed to playing as part of the rhythm section. The vocals are the result of the entire band chanting in a drunken Nordic fashion. Clausen often sings off-mic adding to the dizzy atmosphere. Set highlights, ‘Caravan’ and ‘Cutting Ice to Snow’ proves the point that they can do more than claustrophobic lullabies, they’re also very capable of creating sprightly euphoria.
Encore, ‘Chapter 6’ saw the band asking the audience to clap along. Surprisingly, considering the high hipster quotient of the crowd who would generally not ever clap during a song, the entire crowd joined in. The band had earned it. They had pulled the audience into their world and reaped the rewards, which the band were obviously quite taken aback by. They had no need to be. “You love it”, Clausen announced at one point between songs. He was not wrong.
Included below: A ‘Wizard of Oz’-sampling video of ‘Chapter 6’ made by Karim Ghahwagi. Note: this is incredible stuff but you may not want to watch it if you’re epileptic or on drugs. Actually, maybe you will…