Kings of Convenience at the Royal Festival Hall
The duo who gave new meaning to the term “quiet is the new loud” perform two shows at Royal Festival Hall this month. Sunday’s matinee performance includes songs from their latest album, Peace or Love, alongside earlier material, with Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye returning after a 12-year hiatus to an adoring and loyal crowd.
Starting the set with Comb My Hair, Glambek Bøe jokingly greets the audience with a “Good morning!”, while Øye makes himself at home by removing his shoes and playing the entire performance in socks.
The two are completely at ease with one another, though Øye is more vocal, his delightful anecdotes interspersed between songs. The duo are accompanied by a simple vertical row of orange orbs behind them, the detail mirroring the feeling of their music. There is something so similar yet distinct about their vocals, which complement each other perfectly. Øye recounts how his guitar broke whilst travelling (he managed to get it fixed by an instrument wizard named Charlie) before the pair give the audience Cayman Islands from 2004’s Riot on an Empty Street, a poignantly beautiful track that exemplifies all that is good about the Kings of Convenience.
It is remarkable that the music is comprised only from amped-up acoustic guitars and some recorded loops on pedals. The first single to be released after the break, Rocky Trail is crisp and stunningly brought to life. Playing two more songs from their latest LP, the singer-songwriters make everyone chuckle again, stating, “As you may have realised, we are Kings of Convenience,” their dry, sarcastic wit very much enjoyed by the crowd.
The pair charm the Royal Festival Hall with more tales and sharp observant humour, offering context to the origins of the band. Øye’s lengthy version is made funnier by Glambek Bøe’s briefer one; it would be easy to listen to their music and stories all day. Light and exquisitely layered, the guitar solo at the end of 24-25 is a sublime highlight and one of many. Øye makes fans laugh again, asking if anyone is thinking of getting into a relationship, the chemistry natural between the Norwegians and their listeners.
As everyone clicks their fingers for Fever, and stands up for Catholic Country, someone shouts, “Again!” right after Misread – a distinct fan favourite – while encore Homesick ends the performance.
With confident new material, these Nordic folk virtuosos are heading into an even brighter future, a welcome return for many, their music like a big comforting Nordic quilt.
For further information and future events visit Kings of Convenience’s website here.
Watch the video for the single Rocky Trail here: