Ida Maria + Dan Whitehouse @ The Glee Club, Birmingham – 27th May 2008

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I like the Glee Club, no scratch that, I love the Glee Club. It’s a shimmering oasis of musical quality that lets you settle into your seat and make you feel like the artist you are watching is performing just for you. So imagine my surprise of turning up to the gig tonight to find no seats just a hundred or so people milling around with a slightly confused look on their faces. Thankfully the confusion was broken by Wolverhampton native Dan Whitehouse and his acoustic guitar.

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Dan has played with many great artists such as Josh Ritter and Maria McKee and even partned Carina Round for a while so its no great surprise that his set brims class from the start to finish. His soaring voice is powerful with out being overpowering and the timid crowd slowly move around the stage and whoop their appreciation. Songs like “needles pins and all sharp things” show that Mr Whitehouse has a very bright future ahead of him if you are a fan of the likes of Damien Rice and Paolo Nuttini be sure to check him out.

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After a short break tonight’s headliner takes to the stage. Dressed in her top hat and old leather jacket Ida Maria looks uncannily like the kooky but attractive girl from any of the John Hughes films of the 80`s. Swigging from a bottle of white wine she looks genuinely shocked at the 200 strong crowd in front of her. With only a couple of singles to her name along with “Later…” performance its no mean feat to have so many people going completely ape shit from the opening chords of “Morning light”. Backed by 3 equally excitable gentlemen Ida is soon on her knees howling her lyrics with shambolic precision whilst the Glee Club explodes into a mosh pit….yes you did just read the words “mosh pit” and “Glee club” in the same sentence.

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Her sound is a mix of punk rock, folk and garage meaning at times she sounds like Rilo Kiley and other times Emiliana Torrini but she is very much a unique artist in her own right. Closing the set with the spiky “Better When You’re Naked” and the explosive “Oh My God” Ida lunges into the front row of the manic pogoing crowd only to reappear seconds later dripping with sweat but grinning from ear to ear. After the stage is reset Ida reappears for the slower “In to Hell” and then calls it a night. With her album due next month and gigs like this the future is burning bright for this Norwegian rock goddess. I for one will be front row next time she arrives in the midlands.

Review – Red Annie
Photos – Lee Allen

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