Raymond Soltysek's Blog

Ane Brun, King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, 9/11/11

Posted in Gig review, Music review, World music by raymondsoltysek on November 10, 2011

Oh my goodness, that was a surprise.

I expected to be mildly entertained by another idiosyncratic Norwegian singer, ticking off a bit more Scandinavian wonky-pop.  What I got instead was one of the highlight concerts of the year and a live introduction to a singer I’m going to be listening to pretty much constantly for the forseeable future.

Ane Brun and her band are just wonderful.  There’s little mainstream about her, though, like Susanne Sundfør, she’s capable of some damned fine tunes.  Forget that – utterly mesmerising tunes.  She relies on that Scandinavian thing of setting up a rhythm section (three drum kits on a stage the size of a postage stamp) that is quite capable of rearranging an audience’s internal organs, and lays wash after wash of transcendent ambience over it, and then piles on top of that a voice that is pure, pitch perfect and astonishingly engaging.  The result is the biggest, widest, deepest, broadest soundstage I think I’ve ever heard in a venue this intimate and in many that are much bigger.

And it’s gorgeous.  I don’t know enough of the songs to rhyme them off – I will soon – but one after another has me muttering “Jesus” at the end of yet another wringing out of the senses and emotions.  The new album – “It All Starts With One” – features heavily.  The single “Do You Remember” is a thundering drum-driven pagan thrashing: if you don’t dance your bollocks off to it, you are clearly in need of urgent hospitalisation.  And she ends with “Undertow” which just soars and soars and soars and when you think it can’t soar any higher – up it fucking well goes.

Brun herself is lovely.  She’s very beautiful – those eyes! – but much more attractive is her enigmatic charisma, warmth and obvious delight at the roaring reception she gets.  I dunno – I reckon she would be perfect in the part of a Norwegian Resistance agent in a World War 2 movie.  I haven’t a clue where that came from, but it’s stuck there now.

I don’t know where this will come in my end of year top five gig list, but it will be in there somewhere.   Easily.   Ane Brun is a singer I must have more of.  Must, must, must, must.  Definitely.  Must.

Do you think I liked this a wee bit?

Footnote:  Support is supplied by a member of her band, Linnea Olsson, who is excellent.  A solo cellist and vocalist, she loops, samples, overdubs to produce a quite lovely sound.  Definitely worth checking out on You Tube, bearing in mind that the compression ruins the hugeness of her sound.

9 Responses

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  1. George Glen said, on November 10, 2011 at 11:55 am

    Hi Raymond,

    I had to search for reviews after this wonderful night and yours gets first prize!

    You are not in the slightest bit wrong … Incredible performance of magical songs.

    I’ve been a big fan of Ane for a few years now, so I KNEW she would be great … But I’m so glad you and everyone else obviously thought so too! The sound was superb as well for such a complex band, not always the case at King Tut’s.

    Why an artist so special is still playing King Tut’s, I just can’t fathom, but no matter, we got the close up benefit. I’m going to see her in London on Friday. Should get a bigger setting with more room and better lighting. I can’t wait.


  2. raymondsoltysek said, on November 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    Thanks, George, glad to know I’m not talking pish! She really was brilliant: I’m new to her music, but am now, as you can guess, a committed fan.

    As for playing Tut’s – yes, I see your point. But I wonder if, in amongst the big European venues, she’s not actually making choices about playing some of the more intimate venues? Given the reception she got last night, she’s obviously got a faithful following here. If you see my reviews of Mayra Andrade, she does the big concert hall thing, but also plays Ronnie Scott’s, thankfully. At the end of the day, I always like the small venues; big barns leave me cold.

    Enjoy London: I’m already envious! If you like, drop a wee reply to let us know how it goes.

    Best wishes


  3. Huw MILLER (@ShugNiggurath) said, on November 12, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    I seen Ane on Wednesday, this was my third Glasgow show – King Tuts then the mezzanine in Carling. Each has been great, but this was the first with a full band. Great review, I’ve put a much of the show as I could capture up onto YouTube – battery died right at the end, sadly.

    Enjoy: http://www.youtube.com/user/ShugNiggurath

  4. […] if I am giving other places out, second goes to Ane Brun at King Tut’s, one of my discoveries of the year.  A fantastic night of gorgeous songs and transcendent sounds, […]

  5. notnicolajames said, on January 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Thanks for this short review! I love Ane Brun and I wrote my thoughts about her album on my blog as well. My favorite songs are undertow from disk one of the deluxe version and Du Gråter Så Store Tåra (disk two).

    • raymondsoltysek said, on January 5, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Two of my favourites from a fantastic album too, Nicola (or not Nicola?!). I love “Would Hurt a Fly” too. Thanks for taking the time to drop by and leave a message.

  6. […] that soars as high as any music I’ve ever heard.  I’ve already reviewed her fantastic King Tut’s gig from last November, and have gone on record about how her “It All Starts With One” LP was my highlight […]

  7. […] is out of the Celtic Connections loop, but, after the success of Ane Brun’s gig at King Tut’s just over a year ago, I had to find out of all Norwegians were intent on demolishing Glasgow with […]

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