YNDI HALDA AT OSLO, LONDON, APRIL 1ST 2016
Ignoring the stage with their feet planted firmly on the floor, support act Ladies Of The Lake introduced the night with the friendly and harmonious singing of folk. Cheeky songs reminded me of playground rhymes, except they blended too gently to be as light hearted as the lyrics would lead you to expect.
Big blasts of electronic beats followed from one man band on a mission LTO. Not acknowledging the crowd, he seemed to be enjoying what he was doing - HIS work. With serious reminders of other musicians, it felt possible to guess some of what he might listen to. I particularly enjoyed it when he produced a trumpet, blasted that and looped it back round to his electric drum. I am curious to hear what he does next. His set reminded me of painters who make an abstract mess, onlookers might think they could do it - but they aren’t - the person doing it is the person doing it. Taking risks and making sacrifices to do his / her thing, then doing it some more.
Following this Yndi Halda lined up at the front of the stage. Grasping musical instruments and gazing at the result of their sold out gig stood James Vella - vocals, guitar, Phil Self - keyboard, vocals, guitar, Daniel Neal - mad sad and definitely not bad violin, Oliver Newton - drums, vocals, Simon Hampshire - bass guitar, vocals, and Jack Lambert - guitar.
Beginning with a pleasurably loud post rock long song, they introduced instrumentals from their new album ‘Under Summer’, released in March of 2016. The crowd seemed to recognise waves created by the band with cohesion and energy; crescendos were hard not to jump about to.
Dash and Blast from ‘Enjoy Eternal Bliss’, their only other release (eight years ago) was the second song we were treated to. I was transported to an empty beach, sunlight reflecting on the sand lighting a bright path out to sea. If I opened my eyes I was surrounded by people in this gig again, which was a bit of a culture shock, hence I recalled advice from a fisherman “don’t be afraid of what you can’t see” and kept my eyes closed for the rest of the song.
The new tunes were also melodic, melancholic strings, guitar and sympathetic drums, that throw out space for reflection whilst repeatedly hauling one back into the present. Generous vocals limited the extent my own story played, encouraging joining what the musicians were sharing with their attentive audience. Mild elation arose when the band dropped the pleasantries and completely went for it - the music was really alive and so were we.
The gig was brought to a gentle close with the band all playing tone chimes. Once again lined up at the front of the stage, they seemed to enjoy the handbells, readying us for the end, for now.