As I walk into the hushed venue, I’m greeted by the following sights: most of the audience sitting contentedly on the floor, a lone woman at a piano whispering breathy vocals into a heavily processed mic and a plethora of peacock feathers tastefully adorning the stage.
I need a moment to adjust; I’m more used to seeing this place filled with angled bouffants, wince-inducing tight trousers and crap, noisy indie bands. For the first time in recent memory, all of the audience appear to know who the band are, want to be there and are sober (enough).
Danish band Efterklang have recently begun making waves in circles slightly wider than their avant garde compositions would suggest, partly due to their superb, accessible second album ‘Parades’ – the bulk of which tonight’s material is taken from. Live, the group expand their already huge sound to encompass a more obvious post-rock element but with a subtler, more structured approach. The choral harmonies are there (and work amazingly well) as are the electronics (occasionally dirtied up in the heavier moments) and the floaty fairytale melodies, all of which – accompanied by lead singer Casper Cordina’s wild-eyed, half engaging half frightening stare – combine to create a glorious and uplifting soundtrack to the night.
Midway through one of their final songs – an impressive new track entitled ‘Mirror Mirror’ – half the group’s equipment suddenly cuts out. Seemingly unfazed by this turn of events (there is much laughter across the stage), the rest of Efterklang carry on regardless, jamming on a couple of bars in the breakdown of the song, all of which makes the moment when everything repairs itself even more sweeter, as it comes about just in time for the heady climax that has been gradually building throughout the song. Nice.
Such is the range of sounds and styles on the band’s albums that it seems almost incomprehensible that they could recreate them successfully in a live context, but recreate they do, and with an infectious enthusiasm. Quite simply, everything works: the skewed time signatures, the various brass accompaniments, the five-part vocal harmonies, all put together in such a delightful way and free of any pretensions that you can’t help but love every joyful moment.