In her performance at Bowery Ballroom, Ane Brun was able to balance minimalism with impact, creating stirring compositions that were enigmatic in their subtlety. This was evident from the first song, “These Days,” which she sang with controlled urgency, backed by soft organ and just enough percussion to push the pulse. This, and every one of her songs have lyrics worth listening to, but her vocal delivery surpasses that, along with her constant movement. Brun physically interprets her meanings as well, at times stomping with arms up like a matador of song, and at others simply swaying to the melody.
If she wasn’t dancing, it was because she had her hands full playing acoustic guitar, such as when she came back out for the first encore song with a solo acoustic cover of Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels).” She explained this was part of an effort called The Voice Project, which she filmed a performance for. Brun and her band ended on the stirring “The Light From One,” with her exiting the stage first, letting the band play out, and setting the crowd gently back down on the ground.
Opener Elin Ruth Sigvardsson also sat in with Ane Brun through her entire set, providing backup vocals and keyboards. Sigvardsson’s opening set was solo acoustic folk tinged with classic pop. She sang songs about yearning, and having what you want, with a powerful voice that showed she had the potential to be in an even more grand setting. She can carry her songs on her own without any hitches, but there is definitely room for a full band interpretation to further augment what she’s already emanating.
Gemma Ray was in the middle, playing some retro rockabilly. She fingerpicked, she strummed, she busted out her knife as a prop to slide and scratch the strings. It was all fit for a soundtrack to the next Tarantino film, except that her vocals was actually a little too polished. When she tried to put in some raspy emotion, it seemed to be a bit too contrived, like she hadn’t quite experienced the blues yet, the way her influences did. She had the catchy pop melodies down, though, such as on her single “Rescue Me,” a melodic little ditty that’s a nod to classic 60s pop and doo wop.
Ane Brun has many tour dates left in the US and on to Europe. You can check out all dates and listen to tracks on her Facebook. Gemma Ray will be right with her for many of those days; check her calendar. Guess who is also supporting Ane, at least up through Chicago? You got it – get news updates, watch some videos, and learn more about Elin on her website.