It’s Thursday night of Canadian Music Week and already there have been some amazing shows. Tonight we head to Moog Audio and caught up with the bands of the Nordic by Nature and Swede+Sour showcase. Tucked between vintage clothing stores and weed shops, you’ll find Moog Audio, a music equipment and instrument store specializing in synthesizers and keyboards and all that techy stuff. It’s kind of the perfect setting for this intimate showcase featuring Scandinavian artists This Is Head, Sandra Kolstad and Sóley.
This Is Head is already set up, just waiting for the crowd to arrive and huddle around the cramped yet cozy performance space. Set amongst racks of dj equipment and a wall lined with guitars for sale, This Is Head looks right at home. The band consists of four guys from Sweden; Henric Claesson, Adam Jacobsson, Tom Malmros and Björn Wiking. They start playing and right away the fun dance beat takes over. Their intricate set up of pedals seems more complicated than a Dance Dance Revolution sequence but they have it down to a t. They play four songs and each one carries a great dance beat with a rock-edge, think U2 meets Temper Tramp. They have this sound that makes you want to blast their songs in the car while you’re driving on a long road with the windows down and just chilling out. They end their set with their song Repetition, winning the crowd over even more with their awesome use of the cowbell (because there can never be too much cowbell).
After a brief 10 minute set change, Sandra Kolstad literally jumps on stage with her band and right away you can tell this is going to be good. Her and the drummer laugh and giggle back and forth while they set up their more simplistic stage. She stands in the middle with her keyboard, her drummer to her left with a bass drum, a cymbal, some sound machines, and some chimes, and her backup keyboardist to her right. They kick off their first song with a synthesized shriek and spiral into a killer dance tune. Their energy is contagious and they could be an ADHD dream. From their quick tempo beats to their use of different sounds on loopers, they mesmerize the crowd.
Finally, after another quick break, Sóley comes on. Her sweet demeanour combined with her thick Icelandic accent just melts everyone’s hearts. She sounds like a female Sean Connery when she speaks, but as soon as she begins to sing, she takes us away to another world. Her voice is so pure and simple, and so easy to listen to that it sounds like she’s singing lullabies. Such a stark contrast from Sandra Kolstad’s upbeat energetic set, Soley takes it down to a calming, relaxing feel and just seems to bring everyone closer together.
Although their sets are brief, This is Head, Sandra Kolstad and Sóley bring a sound and style to Toronto that’s truly unique. Each artist proves that they are forces to be reckoned with, and we will definitely be seeing more of them in the near future.
Article by Celia Schepp