Anna von Hausswolff – Live Review (The Cube, Bristol 16 October 2013)

Walking into the dimly lit and minute cinema that is The Cube, it felt like a slightly strange location for a gig venue. The stage was tiny and there couldn’t have been more than 100 seats facing the stage. The old wooden chairs creaked as you sat down. The room was eery yet comforting. The Cube definitely has an atmosphere which leads you to have great expectations of what you’re about to witness.

After everyone had settled in their seats, a man took to the stage. He sat at the lonesome desk in the centre of the stage, its only decoration being a Mac. This was the support act, Black Metal. He produced experimental, filmic music purely by the applications available on his Mac. Black Metal certainly set the mood for the weird yet wonderful Anna von Hausswolff.

Anna von Hausswolff finally took her place behind her trusted organ after announcing that the reason why they were late was because they had got themselves lost in the city.

Von Hausswolff began her set with Red Sun – a song whose beginning has a meditative effect with her vocals gradually appearing to create a fantastic atmosphere which was helped by the red mood lighting. Her vocals were soft and enchanting to start with but towards the end of Red Sun, her passion broke through introducing the beloved sound of those high pitched notes.

Mountains Crave was the next song from her recent album, Ceremony, to be performed. Captivating and entrancing, Mountains Crave never fails to satisfy audiences. The drums on the record have always been a favourite but to see this song performed live gave it a whole new life.

Hearing Anna von Hausswolff talk between songs was mesmerising. She is a dainty woman with long, flowing blonde hair. While playing the organ, she is a monster – an enthusiastic and possessed character – but when talking to her fans, she is sweet, gentle and charming. You can tell instantly when she begins playing that music is her one and only passion.

Halfway through her set, Anna von Hausswolff explained to her dumbfounded audience the story behind the track, Harmonica. She explained that it had been written after the death of her inventor Grandfather. Von Hausswolff made the audience laugh when she explained that her Grandfather had invented the sausage machine – something which she felt needed to be explained with hand gestures and strange, squeaky sounds. After lightening the mood with her story about the sausage machine, von Hausswolff performed Harmonica which ended up bringing tears to your eyes. Her swooping vocals and emotion made this the outstanding performance of the evening, receiving a huge applause. It was a beautiful piece of work that exposed true emotion.

Von Hausswolff treated her audience, on the last night of her European tour, to a new track, Come Wander With Me before she started to wind up the evening with the familiar and brilliant, Funeral For My Future Children. Funeral For My Future Children saw von Hausswolff really come to life – her feet were tapping frantically, her head bobbing uncontrollably and her vocals set the room alight, especially when she sang, “I’ll carry them/My children/I’ll carry them/To Death”.

With the audience craving more, von Hausswolff and her band returned to the stage for one last song, Liturgy Of Light. Liturgy Of Light saw her pick up an acoustic guitar and sing like an angel. It was the perfect end to a perfect evening, leaving her audience in stunned silence before she exited the room.

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