Oh Land at Heaven – contagiously enthusiastic music
Oh Land is the nom de plume of Danish bombshell Nanna Oland Fabricius, a former ballet dancer and current Williamsburg eccentric who thinks nothing of pirouetting onstage wearing teddy bear armbands, looking like an outrageously camp Debbie Harry. She also seems to have come up with an impressive string of electro-pop hits that, among other things, have landed her a support slot on Katy Perry’s latest UK tour.
One gets the feeling Fabricius could be selling out arenas herself if she felt like it, but would rather explore the more eccentric facets of her music instead and play to her hardcore devotees at this low-key NME Awards show at Heaven last night, 23rd February.
The latter are hardly left disappointed by a thoroughly entertaining performance. Backed only by a drummer and anonymous synth boffin, the spotlight remains firmly on Fabricius and she doesn’t let the moment pass her by. Fabricius worked the crowd up into a frenzy with the slightest of gestures and a winning smile and even invited a front-row Twitter admirer up onstage to share some moves during Rainbow. A saucy costume change midway through the set heralds the recent single Sun of a Gun, which channels prime Kylie and Goldfrapp’s Ooh La La in a raunchy electro rush, whilst Lean is an ominous, sexy Bond theme in waiting.
Throughout, Fabricius is gracious, energetic and eminently likeable – it’s hard to imagine someone having more fun making music for an appreciative audience. The songs on display here, culled mainly from her recent self-titled album, are generally charming and contagiously enthusiastic enough to dispel the hint of plagiarism from such contemporaries as Robyn, Lykke Li and Bat For Lashes; although there is the occasional down-tempo lull, and the more subtle numbers, such as the plaintive Wolf & I, that suffer from the reverberating bass of the venue’s speakers.
That said, the main set is wrapped up masterfully with an imperious suite of Twist, which does exactly what it says on the tin, and White Nights, a perfect three minutes of MGMT-esque wistfulness that wins over any remaining doubting Thomases in the crowd. The band are soon back on, for an unexpected and only partially successful electro rendition of the National’s Bloodbuzz Ohio, before wrapping things up emphatically with We Turn It Up, a wonderful flurry of leftfield pop that would make Animal Collective proud. As the crowd file out into the unseasonably balmy London night, the general consensus is that for tonight at least, Heaven lived up to its name.
Photos: Keira Cullinane