Standing near the front of the stage in Dokkhuset Scene watching Kari Harneshaug perform on the last night of Trondheim Calling, it slowly became apparent to me that I was undergoing both a mental and musical shift. While I had always found Kari’s music both interesting to listen to, and fascinating to explore, it was with rapt astonishment that I watched her performance unfold over the too short course of thirty minutes.
Kari performed her six-track setlist accompanied by a 5-piece backing band comprising of none other than slick n savvy Snøskred aficionados, Karl Klaseie (on guitar) and Kyrre Laastad (on synths).
Standing in the centre of the dimly lit stage, the singer cut a diminutive, elfin like figure, but my God when she started to sing did it become obvious that there was nothing nanoscopic about her commanding vocal presence. Kari Harneshaug cuts a most deceiving figure – what she lacks in physical stature she sure as hell makes up for in vocal weight.
Song after song was vocalised with requisite exuberant energy, theatrical drama or understated potency. The link that bound was the vice like grip the singer had over her breath control, pitch and delivery. Harneshaug wields her vocal tools with pinpoint precision and as a result, was in full control of her performance throughout.
Experimental and eclectic, her multi-textured, many splendored songs, allow for varied artistic interpretation, ranging from subtle to melodramatic; an experienced performer, Kari gave carefully considered deliveries that perfectly expressed the varying waves of emotions rolling through her songs.
Highlights of her set included ‘The Great Sea’ and latest single, ‘Wild One’, but it was the track ‘Lower My Eyes’ that blew me away and IMO stole the show. This highly evocative, somewhat provocative slinky jazz-blues number, sizzled with Klaseie’s spotlight hogging, electrifying guitar playing, that was nicely balanced by some relaxed percussion, trickling rivulets of synth and shots of piano. Laid back lush, sung with a smoky vocal, this had (and still has), all the hallmarks of a sensational blues infused hit song.
Kari Harneshaug’s live set gave her music a 3D quality I would not have hitherto believed possible. Intensely atmospheric, superbly instrumented and exquisitely vocalised, it was a perfect performance.
Perfect performances are rare, not for Kari Harneshaug. 5/5.
”Lower My Eyes’ features on Kari’s upcoming record, ‘We Were Closer To The End’, due for release on 26th via NO FOREVERS, (so you’ll be able to listen to it then!) and you can follow Kari on Facebook, to keep up with all her musical endeavours.
Kari Harneshaug Setlist : The Signs Have Been Telling Me, The Great Sea, For Our Love, When The Day Creeps Up On Us, Lower My Eyes, Wild One