9th September 2016
Review and Photos by Graham Hilling
It’s a fairly standard Summer’s evening as I make my way to the Boston Music Rooms in Tufnell Park for what promises to be an interesting evening of music featuring acoustic performances from Antimatter & Kari Rueslåtten. Appearances from either of these artists on the UK gig circuit have been rare to say the least and this was a great opportunity to catch both in one evening.
First up was Kari Rueslåtten from Norway. Kari is no stranger to the music scene having been the singer for the influential The 3rd and the Mortal and having had a successful solo career following this.
She has also toured in The Sirens, with such notables as Liv Kristine & Anneke van Giersbergen and her music and voice perfectly fits my rather melancholic mood this evening. And the billing of an acoustic evening is stretching the definition slightly as she is ably assisted by Jostein Ansnes and his electric guitar and a fine array of pedals!
Karis voice is something else, strong and so, so fragile at the same time. It is difficult to not be impressed. There is a truly haunting quality to it that is difficult to describe but completely recognisable from the first note.
The set starts with “Battle Forevermore” from the current album “To the North” which gets everyone in the right place for what is about to follow. We’re treated to an array of songs covering Karis solo career, including “Dance with the King”, “Why So Lonely”, “Paint the Rainbow Grey”….
Each is performed perfectly and we should make mention of the guitar work of Jostein Ansnes. This guy is a Grammy award winning producer but tonight his guitar work is quite mesmerizing.
Shimmering moods and scenes are effortlessly created, it is difficult to remember that this is the work of a single guitar at times. Quite stunning.
Before spattering of work from the album “Spindelsinn”, including the title track and “Nordnatt” (performed in Norwegian), Kari takes a turn at the keyboard too, adding an extra layer to the sound, and the set is concluded with “Wintersong” and “To The North”.
A strong and impressive performance and Kari looks pretty pleased with the sparse but appreciative audience reaction.
Antimatter played in London not too long ago (with a full band setup) and I was lucky enough to catch this. You can’t fail to be impressed with Mick Moss’ voice, he brings something incredibly soulful to the party.
This evening I wasn’t really sure how the acoustic element would play out to be honest but as soon as Antimatter took to the stage it was obvious where this was going.
Mick can be seen sporting an acoustic guitar and using a rather clever looping device to setup a percussive beat for each of the songs. This is all backed up by Dave Hall on electric guitar and backing vocals.
In this way they can add layer on layer and build up the sound. It all works very well, although in truth, most of the songs are strong enough to be performed with just an acoustic guitar and Mick’s impressive vocals on their own.
They rattle through a set that focuses on some of the older material, which suited me fine! Starting with “Leaving Eden” from the 2007 album of the same name, and following this up with the powerful “Fear of a Unique Identity”, it’s clear that performing these songs in this cutdown, sparse manner causes no harm whatsoever, and in many respects, reducing them to this simple format just reiterates how good the songs are.
We get to hear “Conspire”, and this is followed by a cover of Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s “The Power of Love”. Now, this is one awesome song to begin with and the treatment Antimatter give it this evening takes it to a new level. Truly brilliant.
Next come two amazing songs, “Saviour”, closely followed by “In Stone”. Both of these songs make a real impression. I’m not sure why but they definitely strike a cord deep inside me that not much music touches these days.
They are songs that you can lose yourself in, all held together by that amazing Mick Moss vocal.
So it’s not long before Antimatter are playing their closing number, “Hole” and leaving the stage. As we’d been promised earlier, Antimatter and Kari returned to the stage for one last song – “Where the Wild Roses Grow” – a Nick Cave cover.
It’s a bit disappointing to be honest as I’m certain almost any of the Antimatter songs would have been a better fit for Karis voice, but I guess it was a good, upbeat way to close off the evening.
So, no complaints from me, first class stuff from professionals at the top of their game. Definitely more please!
Fear of a Unique Identity
A Place in the Sun
The Last Laugh
Angelic (I think )
Over Your Shoulder
The Power of Love (Frankie goes to Hollywood cover)
Where the Wild Roses Grow (Nick Cave and the Badseeds cover)