5/8/15 – The Orpheum

As hooded Ingrid Helene Håvik (her all-black outfit complete with fingerless gloves) strode onto the stage, exposed lightbulbs barely lit the Norwegian band—a fitting setting for Highasakite’s gloomy pop.

At times, the four-piece act was a typical combination of vocals, keys, drums, and guitar. At others, it was a traditional combination of vocals, keys, drums, and… flugabone. (No, it’s not an exotic Norwegian instrument made of bones; it’s a fun-sized trombone fit for a marching band. I imagine that whoever invented it marched in front of the trombonists and was tired of getting poked in the back.)

The quirky, dark lyrics of Highasakite proved a well-matched opener for Of Monsters and Men, and Håvik probably left the crowd puzzled with lines like “the Earth is the universe’s eyes” from “Leaving No Traces.”

Hiroshima” began sleepily but grew into a sound that filled the stage, even if the band itself did not. Once in a while, the band made eye contact with each other or sent nods across the theatre, but for the most part, the members of Highasakite felt more like separate elements and less like a cohesive bunch building off one another.

The highlight of the night was a beautiful cover of “Heavenly Father” (originally by Bon Iver). Flugabone in hand, Kristoffer Lo added a layer of deep brassy sound that turned the ethereal electronic humming of the original song into a slow, drawn-out fanfare. As he held the instrument up high with one hand, the others danced along to the melody. Håvik weaved an invisible quilt in the air with her hands before we found her gleefully dancing along to their song about the Sith Lord, which felt like it belonged in that scene in 500 Days of Summer more than in a dimly-lit performance hall.

On the track “Since Last Wednesday,” Håvik wagged her finger to the “nevers.” (“He would never do graffiti or vandalize that house / And he would never be caught spray painting on those people’s walls”) The song exploded into 8-bit style sounds and booming drum rolls, and the guitarist/flugabone player held his guitar low to the ground, dropping down like a limp puppet. Although the Orpheum burst into applause, the theatrics of the performance were somewhat lost on the younger crowd; the theatre was filled with its fair share of teenagers and tweens—plus that dad and the six-year-old clutching a movie-theatre-sized box of Skittles to his chest.

Hooded Figure and a Flugabone: Highasakite
  • Drum rolls and flugabone
  • Larger sound than expected; filled the theatre
  • Killer cover
  • Minimal crowd interaction
  • Band members felt like separate units
6.8Gloomy Pop

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.