Not knowingly on reviewing duties, and as is my wont, I turned up to the gig ten minutes before Efterklang were due on. As a result I can’t comment on how good support act Nancy Elizabeth was, although those who had seen her had good things to say – apparently you could hear a pin drop during her set or, more accurately, you could hear the bands rehearsing the in the studio next door.
I’d not been to The Asylum before and the place is worth a kind word or two. A mid-size venue in the Jewellery Quarter, not too dissimilar to the Rainbow Warehouse. The bar staff were dressed as goth nurses (male and female) for no other reason than it probably seemed like a good idea. Which it was.
Efterklang. One of the best bands not enough people have heard of. For the uninitiated, they’re from Denmark and sound a little like Sigur Ros, a little like Roksopp and a bit like Battles. They’re more fun than that makes them sound though. Intense and earnest while performing, they’re engaging and earnest between songs.
The set included a lot of new, well-received, material as well as copious amounts of ‘Parades’ and the odd bit of ‘Tripper’. Pleasingly, the new stuff went down as well as the classics – no great departures or new directions here, although that might be tricky for a band that seems to march in all directions at once.
How they manage to combine so many instruments (which they regularly swap between themselves) and produce such a cohesive and particular sound fair boggles the mind. That they manage to do this without pretension is even more impressive.
It’s probably because their aim is clearly to enchant their audience. They hardly stopped smiling and thanking us between songs, unless it was to ask whether we wanted to hear an upbeat song or a new ‘shaky’ one (shaky won by a mile). The focus on the audience was typified at the end of their final song – beckoning us closer to the stage and turning the microphone round to us we were asked to complete the song acapella. One brave soul stepped up to serenade us from the floor – the last word went to the audience and the band left beaming.