Dagny at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen
Hearing the words “Norway”, and “musician” may bring up images of artists of dubious taste: Abba (even though they’re Swedish), Björk (except she’s from Iceland), or even Alphabeat (although they’re actually great). But Dagny genuinely brings something new and exciting, and in doing so, both her origins (in Norway’s deep northern city of Tromsø) and her genre become immaterial. Standing in a loose black dress in front of an ensconced crowd, bobbing her hair and flanked by two modest guitarists, it is clear that Dagny’s image alone may be all she ever needs to sell records.
Her sound is honestly compelling. Neither mellow Scandinavian folk nor happy-go-lucky indie, it sits somewhere in the middle, allowing poppy overtones to pull it into radio acceptability, whilst not losing itself in a melange of trite arpeggios and four-chord melodies. From the moment Dagny begins, her songs have beat and bite. Mixing The Maccabees with London Grammar and Fleetwood Mac, it’s an indie sound with a 70s folk soul. If Dagny had burst into a Neil Diamond cover, it wouldn’t have been surprising.
“Getting through the days, slipping through the nights,” she sings. There is some angst, but it isn’t laboured. Whilst the song Backbeat, released in 2015 and doing quite nicely on Norwegian radio and iTunes, is surely the one that she hopes will make her name, the real standout track in tonight’s set is Man in the Moon. With its pounding Cascada beats, the melody of a Keane song and the cool guitar riffing of late Coldplay, it manages to anchor the artist in her own sound without running away with itself.
Granted, the stage presence needs work. Dagny’s demureness can be cute, but it occasionally cuts through the atmospheric songwriting; one can’t help but think a shade more gravitas might make this a truly gripping experience.
Something is still lacking in the carry-off, and it is a crucial thing to be missing. But then, whilst nothing about the artist is wholly original, she manages to put a personal spin on her music, which means she could easily stand out. It’s early days yet. Dagny pulls a crowd, and suitably excites – a first step as important as anything that may come next.
For further information about Dagny and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Backbeat here: