Susanne Sundfør (The Barbican, London, 21/05/18)


At long last, I finally saw her live. This has been a long time coming.

I fell in love with her critically acclaimed album Ten Love Songs, and had my heart set on seeing her live. However, everything that could go wrong, seemed to go wrong. I had hoped to see her live at Citadel Festival 2016, but managed to miss her because some doughnut left the tickets in the car. Unfortunately, this meant that the ship had sailed on seeing her perform her big high-energy singles from that album (no more ‘Accelerate’… *sigh* ). Still, I wasn’t going to give up. Her next visit to the UK would be at Union Chapel in 2017, which I couldn’t make it to. She then announced a show at Shepherds Bush, which was cancelled. Would I ever get to see her live?

As it turned out, yes I would, at the Barbican Centre when she brought her stunning Songs For People in Trouble AV Show out of her native Norway for the first time, during which she would perform the titular album in its entirety. The performance had quite a blurb to live up to. It was described as follows on Susanne Sundfor’s website – “For this tour I want to take you to an alternative universe. I want to tell you a story you haven’t heard before. Me and some amazing musicians and light designers will take you into a musical dreamworld”. That was bold, but damn was it accurate.

Visually the show was stunning, as the band performed behind a translucent projector screen. The band were perfectly visible under the right light, and images could float around them. At times this was both terrifying and hypnotic. I won’t soon forget watching the real Susanne at her piano, before I jumped out of my skin when her 30ft face suddenly appeared in front of me.

My favourite song on the album, and of the night was definitely ‘The Sound of War’. On the album, the track is over ten-minutes long, as it features a brilliant extended coda, which to my knowledge had not been performed live.  I was chuffed to bits to hear the evil bass rumble as it began, along with a very disorientating display of falling into an upside-down, wireframe city. Oh my god. They’re actually doing it!

The show was well worth the wait, and I can’t wait to find out what form we will see Susanne in next, considering that this was a show unlike anything she had ever done before, considering she was shaking her booty in her past album era. Whatever it is, I’ll be there next time she pops by.

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