A feast for the eyes as well as the ears on the South Bank

Ether Festival 2012 review

published: Mon 15th Oct 2012

iamamiwhoami

Friday 5th to Saturday 20th October 2012
Southbank Centre, London, SE1 8XX, England MAP
Ticket price varies depending on event and seating
last updated: Thu 6th Sep 2012

Born out of the collaboration of Swedish singer/songwriter Jonna Lee and producer Claes Björklund, iamamiwhoami have garnered massive online attention and fan base with a long running viral music and video campaign. With a solid reputation established online, Iamamiwhoami's performance at Ether this year was a chance to show a packed Queen Elizabeth Hall how well her productions translate to a live show in this, the first UK performance of their act on a cold midweek evening on London's South Bank.

iamamiwhoami
With a nod to the videos that the band had also made as part of their productions, this gig also featured a chance to check out Kin, the latest video featuring music from the band, which was running on TVs and a projector in the lobby floor. As the lobby was open to the public, not just ticket holders, there were quite a few people enjoying the video performance and this served not only to show another side to the project but also acted as a kind of warm up act for themselves.

Moving on to the main event and shrouded in shadows, Iamamiwhoami's set started out slowly and quietly, with a soloist taking to the stage with an acoustic guitar to perform a song solo, whilst the rest of the band filtered on to the stage behind him. Whilst not representative of the rest of the show, it was a nice way of starting things off and served to ratchet up the expectations of the crowd as the band took their places.

With a surge of drums, keyboards and lights, Jonna took to the stage to start the show proper to a roar of applause from the crowd. A small, thin girl dressed in a white catsuit with long blonde hair, she makes for a striking presence on stage and is not afraid of using the space to move and dance in time to the music; a nice mix of well-made electronic and dance with some stomping slow numbers alongside catchy, upbeat tracks. I had the idea that they can be likened to a mix of The Knife with a singer like Björk but this perhaps does them a disservice; they are a tight group and sound great live, with a pair of accomplished keyboard players nailing down the basslines and leads alongside the main percussion and live drums. Vocals, accompanied by a backing singer doing harmonies and multi-part choruses, are uplifting as they are dark and forlorn and while the words might have been lost at times, it was expected that the audience of mostly fans would know the lyrics anyway and this didn't detract too much from the experience.

As for Jonna herself, she was quick to make the hall her own personal playground, especially once she had her trademark cloak halfway through the set and danced around the stage like some kind of ice witch or harpy. At one point through the set, she decided to descend into the crowd during an extend chorus and delighted the crowd by waltzing up the aisles, still singing away a few feet away from her audience. Clearly a confident performer and more than able to interact with her audience though her singing and wild movements, hers was an enjoyable performance to watch as well listen to and a world away from a other acts that might just stand still on stage.

After the dust had settled on their show, Iamamiwhoami had proved positive that their live show is every bit as good as their online material and recordings. Their set was an enjoyable evening of catchy music and energetic dancing; a great UK festival debut from the Swedes and a worthy addition to Ether's artist line-up.

iamamiwhoami
review by: Chris Smout

photos by: Chris Smout

Friday 5th to Saturday 20th October 2012
Southbank Centre, London, SE1 8XX, England MAP
Ticket price varies depending on event and seating
last updated: Thu 6th Sep 2012


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