I found out about the North Atlantic Flux Scandinavian music festival through my liking for Mugison and Sóley, but was intrigued by the music of event curator John Grant and am a fan of Einar Örn of Ghostdigital since the early days of the Sugarcubes … so to get three in the one show was too good to miss! A long day of ‘festivalling’ also let me see Tom Kay, Equis, Eva-Lina and the amazing Nils Bech from Norway who I enjoyed greatly.
Hull City Hall was the venue for the main event of the festival opened by Ghostdigital from Iceland. Music man Curver’s heavy electronic, industrial drum’n’bass music isn’t my style but the manic dancing, vocalisations and stories of Einar Örn Benediktsson are irresistable and we were all carried along to a standing ovation. In contrast Sóley, also from Iceland, played a relaxed solo show with just her piano and loop station. Most songs from new album ”Endless Summer’ were intricate piano pieces with lovely melodies from her delicate voice. Enchanting.
John Grant was the curator and public face of the festival, originally from USA now living in Iceland. He clearly has a big fan base in England and there was much love in the room for him. I was in the second row surrounded by some of his biggest fans who were delirious with joy! I like his voice and great lyrics so will watch out for more. I can be seen clapping at 1:42 in the video below! A great night all round. Bravo Hull, UK City of Culture indeed!
8/11 Attended by George
The first day of the North Atlantic Flux festival and I was looking forward to seeing Susanne Sundfør from Norway who’s music I had been aware of but not checked out much. A relaxed solo show with her pianos and guitar, not the big band synth fest she has done recently, and that was good to let me hear her incredible voice in all it’s glory. She really is an amazing singer so I enjoyed the set. One ‘but’ though …. her lyrics are all pretty downbeat, if not depressing. I quite like a bit of misery in a song, but this was ridiculous. Felt like shouting ‘cheer up hen’! Didn’t. She’s nice and it was a nice evening!
7.5/11 Attended by George
A Sunday night with a terrible cold and I really didn’t fancy going out. But we do like a bit of SAHB and Not SAHB are the best. I’m so glad we went because they fair cheered me up with a stonking set that made a busy Sneaky Pete’s very happy! We sang along like loons with Not Alex (Gordon) and Not Zal (Hans Peter), but it’s Ina (the fish) Fischlin that really makes the show with her brilliant interpretive dance and costumes. Bravo and haste ye back from Switzerland!
7.5/11 Attended by George & Karen
I’ve followed Honeyblood with interest but just missed out on seeing them a couple of times ’til now. Stina and Cat make a glorious racket and have really good tunes, much enjoyed by a busy Dunfermline crowd. They are adding more variety into their songs which is good, but I’d still prefer a bit more. Definitely getting more popular and well travelled. Good luck to them. Great fun.
7.5/11 Attended by George
I like science, I like space, I like The Edinburgh International Science Festival and I like Public Service Broadcasting. Put them all together and I just had to go to see PSB play their album ‘The Race For Space’ end to end. A big occasion for the science festival at a packed Usher Hall, an impressive event.
The event started with a Q&A session with J. Willgoose Esq. about his knowledge of the space race and how the album was developed. Then the band, accompanied by a brass section, string quartet, the Scottish National Youth Choir and a man in a spacesuit, played the ‘Race For Space Album’ followed by a selection of their other songs.
Though I admire PSB and like some of their material … I find it hard to ‘love’ them since the format is mainly fairly repetitive music with odd speaking from information film clips, not really songs in the traditional sense that I like. Doesn’t grab me emotionally very often. Their best songs, like ‘Go’ and ‘Spitfire’ are impressive though. So, while enjoyable, it’s not my favourite though they went down a storm with the crowd tonight. Maybe they’ll change my mind with their forthcoming album about the Welsh mining industry?
7/11 Attended by George
Though I’m a huge fan of Icelandic music, I had managed to completely miss the delightful Hafdís Huld, which is crazy because she’s been around for years and is pretty popular. A contemporary of another of my Icelandic favourites Emiliana Torrini, and there are simililarities … who knew? Well, now I know and I’m happy about that. So glad I went to see her and a busy Sneaky Pete’s loved her too!
Hafdís has a fair back catalogue but quite a long set included many from her new album ‘Dare To Dream Small’. Her songs are generally light and playful, nothing too deep here, but warm and enjoyable. She is a lovely singer, accompanied brilliantly by her partner Alisdair Wright, but the evening is made by her charming and funny introduction stories that explain the lyrics perfectly. She is such a character, daft as a brush as we say, and had us laughing all the time. A new favourite!
7.5/11 Attended by George
Aside from being my namesake, and a fellow bass player, Chris was a boyhood hero of mine from his days in The Sensational Alex Harvey Band. Their ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me’ album is still an all time favourite and the story of the band has always fascinated me. When I heard he had a book coming out and a special signing event, I just had to nosey along.
I was met by Chris when I arrived and he signed my book and obliged with a selfie. I had met him a few years ago and he is still larger than life and a big friendly personality. Great to chat to and the life and soul of a fun evening. A talk about the book and Q & A was followed by some live music and a set from Chris and a long list of compadres playing songs from his long career, especially with SAHB and Michael Schenker. Nice to see a full house celebrating with him. Cheers!