Review: Sigrid at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Sigrid hasn't been on my radar for long. A couple of tracks had made their way to my ears via music discovery playlists, and that's about as far as they got. They were good, but they hadn't wormed their way in, circling around my head for days after like great music so often does. But then, during one particularly productive morning of YouTube scrolling, I stumbled across her Jools Holland performance of 'Don't Kill My Vibe' and that was it. A good track became a great one. It's in there now, rattling around my skull. I guess some music has to be seen to be believed.
I test that theory later the same week in Hoxton Square, where the Norwegian 20 year old and her band are playing to a sold out crowd. She's so little that at first the stage seems to swallow her, but from the first snare hits she seems to grow, filling not just the stage but the whole room. Tracks like 'Shots Fired' and 'Fake Friends' go off, and despite her diminutive stature there's nothing small about her voice, which is elastic and expressive and laden with attitude. Swatting away disloyal frinds and dismissing boys she doesn't have time for, she exudes a kind of confidence that goes beyond the standard 'girl power' angle that so many recently emerging female have been trying to bottle in recent years.
Sigrid's powerful presence is felt no less during a few more subdued tracks. Her vocal ability is most starkly evident on 'Dynamite', which is a truly excellent piece of song writing. That she sounds so much like Adele on this track that for a second it's as though we're at that Graham Norton look-a-like performance in which one of the look-a-likes is actually Adele, is weirdly a side-note. The similarities in intonation are uncanny, but Sigrid performs with such freedom and energy that comparison between the two artists is a red herring.
In the moments between songs Sigrid is sweet and softly spoken - a contrast to her punchy in-song persona - but the contrast is endearing, and she's no less unafraid when she's talking than when she's singing. It's Norway's Constitution Day, so she rallies her band to sing their National Anthem, bolstered by a large portion of the audience. She closes with 'Don't Kill My Vibe', bringing together the soft and the rough one final, defining time, and the whole crowd is with her. There are so many Scandi-pop artists out there at the moment it can be difficult to keep up with who's who, but tonight Sigrid set herself apart, not least because she seems to know who she is.
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