Review: Hjaltalin @ The Luminaire


I have just, only now, realized that my literally non stop schedule of gigs is probably going to be rather exhausting. Exhausting, but fun! 

Yesterday I went to see Hjaltalin play at The Luminaire. I got there fairly early but the place filled up quite quick. I watched another photographer set up her super expensive looking kit. She had that photographer-y look about her, you could tell her shots were probably going to be really good. I want to see them. Adam arrived just before the first band came on.

Kat and the Half Step Uncles, they were called. The singer was quite a character, very expressive and posed for the cameras. This shot sums up their set. Really not my thing at all. It was funk music, it sounded like it came from X-Factor or something. Bizarre! The crowd also dispersed after this first act, which made the whole thing weirder. 

Then it was the Ark People. I’d seen them before supporting Mumford and Sons and I didn’t really enjoy them. I thought they were much more enjoyable this time, the sound was much better too. They all look very young and if they put out a good album I can imagine them getting alot of attention.

Then it was City Reverb. I spent the whole set staring at the singer and keyboard lady trying to think where I recognize them from. I can’t think where, and it’s really annoying. They had a song about Central Heating. By now it was quite late and I just wanted to see the headliners. I think the third support act are always harder for me to enjoy unless I was looking forward to seeing them in the first place.

I was having fun photo’ing. The crowd had left a handy isle between them and the stage, which allowed me to move freely. I think I learn something new every time I photograph a show, which is probably why photography is quite rewarding to me. The crowd had filled up quite a bit now. Adam and I agreed that the songs on the radio weren’t that great. It was with a welcome reception that Hjaltalin took to the stage.

Hjaltalin are a musical group from Iceland with lots of members and a nice rich sound. They had a bassoon player (!), which I think I’ve only seen before once. Bassoon looks hard to play, she had a harness strapping it to her, I’d probably  be too impatient to play an instrument that requires any form of setting up besides occasional tuning. Apparently the band are a huge success in Iceland and have had a number one hit. It’s not hard to see why, they have absolutely huge choruses that are very poppy and brilliant. The band were all clearly having a great time. I seem to spend alot of time seeing lone singer songwriter types (I’m not complaining!), but it was great to see a nice full band for a change. The singer told us the words to one of the songs in Icelandic and translated it to English for our benefit. Alot of the crowd were Icelandic and singing and dancing along, it was brilliant. I really enjoyed their set, best live show of 2009 so far, unfortunately for them it’s of Montreal later today, so that title probably won’t last past 9pm tonight. Anyhow, they were great live and I recommend catching them if you can. Give their songs a listen on Myspace.


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