Rebekka Karijord: London – live review

Rebekka Karijord
The Borderline, London
January 16th, 2013

Rebekka Karijord takes a break from the Norwegian winter to play her first headline gig in London, and our own Dave Brown was there.

This is Rebekka Karijord’s debut headline London gig, but she doesn’t look or sound fazed by it as she comes on stage wearing a cloak and waving her arms wildly as she sings what sounds like a Latin (could be Norwegian) introduction to ‘Prayer’.

There’s a partisan crowd in the Borderline, evidenced by the presence of many Scandanavian accents and two sisters who get a name check for producing one of her YouTube videos that had just reached 300k hits. She’s confident enough to joke about little boys needing to be taught humility before ‘O Brother’, whilst adding that women need to learn too when it’s met with a mix of cheers and the odd jeer.

The thirteen song set tonight is focused around last year’s rather excellent ‘We Become Ourselves’ album, released on Control Freak Kitten, with nine of the ten songs in the set, with three from her previous album ‘The Noble Art Of Letting Go’.

 

Alternating between keyboard and harp, Rebekka is fascinating to observe. Losing the cloak a few songs in, she’s dressed head to toe in black (except for glitter silver shoes) and is animated throughout, not allowing the audience to draw their attention away from her. Her voice pierces the silence of the room when she hits the high notes, of which there are many in the songs, but even when the songs rock out she maintains admirable control of pitch and range.

There are also moments of reflection and beauty, particularly in main set closer ‘Ode To What Was Lost’, a simple keyboard-driven song about the mountains in northern Norway where she comes from. Her backing band switch instruments after almost every song and their more traditional male backing vocals provide an interesting contrast.

The only real low points in the set are an attempt at trying to start a singalong section in ‘You Make Me Real’, and a cover of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Cry Me A River’. The latter isn’t necessary amongst the magical tales of love and heartbreak of her own. She has a set of songs and the voice, presence and backing band for her own material to more than stand up without it.

If you’ve not heard ‘We Become Ourselves’, check it out. Hopefully she’ll be back on the success of this short tour to play more later in the year. Rebekka is a genuinely engaging artist with a great set of songs and a voice and stage presence to match.

Rebekka played:
Prayer
Save Yourself
Use My Body While It’s Still Young
O Brother
We Become Ourselves
Paperboy
Wear It Like A Crown
You Make Me Real
Multicoloured Hummingbird
Your Love
Ode To What Was Lost
Cry Me A River
Noble Art Of Letting Go

Rebekka Karijord can be found online at her official website and on Facebook.

Words and live photo by Dave Brown. More writing by Dave on Louder Than War can be found here.

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