Scala – 13th September
Sigrid’s first major headline show in the capital was always going to be a litmus test. You can’t receive as much hype as she has without people wondering, but is she actually worth it? To put this into context, the 21-year-old Norwegian singer has been earmarked as the ‘next big thing’ by pretty much everyone going. The Guardian even called her “the new Lorde”, which I’m sure Sigrid and Lorde are both thrilled by.
The comparison makes a little more sense when you consider how both artists come from remote places not exactly known for creating pop stars. Born in the seaside town of Alesund, a seven hour drive north from Bergen, Sigrid Raabe spent a large portion of her childhood exploring the seaside and mountains near her family home. She only starting writing music after her brother, musician Tellef Raabe, insisted she write her own song, instead of a cover, to perform at a show with him. Not long after that her songs were being picked up by the Norwegian equivalent of BBC Introducing and she moved to Bergen to immerse herself in the indie music scene there. Last year she wrote what was to be her breakthrough hit-in-waiting ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’, which her manager sent it to Island Records, who immediately signed her up.
Stepping out tonight in a plain red t-shirt, blue mom jeans and her mousey brown hair falling to her shoulders and no make-up, Sigrid looks like the antithesis of what we expect pop singers to be. When she launches into ‘Go To War’ it’s clear from the get go why so many people have fallen for her. It’s that voice; as powerful as an earthquake and as light as a bird song, often within the same breath. It’s even more impressive on a boisterous rendition of ‘Plot Twist’, her second single with Island, and she bounces round the stage with so much energy it’s hard to keep your eyes locked on her.
While every song held its own, there were a number of truly gripping moments and commanding piano ballad ‘Dynamite’ was the highlight of the night (especially for the bloke at the back who shouted every lyric back in a tone I can only describe as sounding like a donkey with a bad cold). On record, the song veers a little too close to dreary Adele balladry for my own taste but tonight it becomes something else. She warbles with immense power but the tenderness that also comes through is almost too much to take. By the song’s end there are a chorus of voices bellowing out each word like their life depended on it.
At the other end of the ballad-to-banger spectrum, a new song (which I assume is called ‘Strangers’) has a catchy disco flair, augmented with a deep, reverberating bass line that’s reminiscent of Madonna’s Abba-sampling ‘Hung Up’. Its confident swagger might have been lost on tonight’s crowd, who don’t seem all that fussed, but it’s their loss. It’s quickly followed by mega hit ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ which is every bit as euphoric and anthemic as you’d hope it would be.
Tonight, Sigrid wiped the floor with the competition and proved her pop superstar credentials. It’s not a matter of ‘if’ now, it’s ‘when’.
Photos by Rebecca Hughes.