Jaakko Eino Kalevi at The Courtyard
Jaakko Eino Kalevi’s new and first-full length album was released three days before his live show at the Courtyard, Hoxton. The eponymous record is consistently good, and more than a decent follow up to its prequel 2013 EP, Dreamzone. At some moments a Scandinavian electronic pop, at others, a new-wavy saxophone rock with dashes of disco, it is wondrous, oneiric and unquestionably original. Unfortunately, that doesn’t translate too well into his live performance.
Looking very tall beside the members of his band – a brilliant and flirtatious sax player, a somewhat tired-looking backup singer, and a talented drummer – Kalevi appears rather shy in his white shirt and long blond hair with which he covers half of his face. It might be the constant feedback sound from the speakers or the almost unbearably hot atmosphere in the venue, but the audience does not seem to be responding too well to the first few songs. Yet as soon as Deeper Shadows starts playing, they indulgently dance and cheer. Hush Down, however, is the one that finally eases the tension and livens the party.
The room seems to keep getting sweatier, but the energy of both the audience and the performers increases correspondingly. The pastel-coloured haze of Double Talk, his latest single, is received with excitement. It appears to be the kind of amateurish performance with raw delivery that the London-based fans appreciate as authentic, and that the many Finnish fans among them enjoy with pride. They may lack a little rehearsal – it is somewhat sloppy – but the potential is certainly there.
The last three songs of the encore, Flexible Heart, The Search and On Knowing, are the highpoint of the night. Even when, at times, it is hard to tell whether the former tram driver is playing deadpan or just plain bored, Kalevi says good-bye with a sweet bow to the audience that leaves out any previous expectations of an ironic resolution to his act. As it keeps evolving, it will hopefully sacrifice a bit of the rawness for a performance that is at the level of his wildly interesting proposal.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Jaakko Eino Kalevi and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Double Talk here: