Monday, May 14, 2007


Headliner:Hafdis Huld
Support: Billy Sturrock, Lou Hickey
Venue:The Arches, Glasgow, Friday 12th May 2007

Icelandic singer Hafdis Huld had originally being going to tour in February, but had to cancel due to illness, much to her frustration. According to her biography, Hafdis was entertaining the neighbours with her own "circus" at the age of 10, and was a founder member of the Icelandic indie band Gus Gus. Dirty Paper Cups is her debut solo album, and one with which she has been doing support gigs, so that this current rescheduled tour is her first solo headline tour.

A seated gig, the Arch where i most recently saw Yann Tiersen, has been filled with tables and chairs for the audience, though between bands they play music by Tinariwen, the band I saw here prior to Tiersen. There are two support bands, both of whom are local acts. The first is Lou Hickey, who is already on stage when I arrive, playing keyboard and singing, accompanied by her friend Susan on cello, though apparently they normally play with a full band. They have a decent pop sound, combining careful piano and cello melodies without over doing either. There are moments of quirkiness that suggest a potential for more, though certainly Lou comes across as having a charismatic stage presence. Certainly more so than the solo singer/guitarist that follows her, who plays fairly generic pop-rock, with occasional moments that could be comparable to other contemporary pop singers, though without the quality.

Hafdis Huld took to the stage in a pink top, short skirt and glittery ruby heels, a trashy pixie princess. Joined by Sarah Croft on keyboard, and Alisdair Wright and Steve Ling playing guitars, ukulele, xylophone and banjo. The music is quirky and charming, pure pop, with that wit and wacky lyricism that amuses me so. Like "ice cream is nice, monsters are not", and so on. Through the night the band play 11 out of the albums 13 tracks - including the singles Diamonds On My Belly, Tomoko, and Ski Jumper, videos for all of which can be found online in various places. At the point that Hafdis cancelled her previous tour she was sent a Hafdis ragdoll to cheer her up, by a girl from Glasgow. During Ski Jumper the doll maker appeared, wielding a ski jumper doll, which Hafdis waved around during the rest of the song, before propping the doll up at the front of the stage and grinning with delight for sometime after.

The atmosphere from the set up was a curious thing, only one person standing in front of the stage, while everyone else was seated around the hall. Though certainly that one person made enough noise to attract Hafdis's attention, with her seeming by turns amused and intimidated. Regardless the rest of the audience were appreciative of the music, and the funny little stories she told between each song. Disappointingly, they had no merchandise for sale - and I have been unable to find her album locally, but while I was tempted to pick it up before the gig, I was sufficiently motivated to order it afterwards.

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