LIVE REVIEW: Ane Brun, o2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire (London), 28.04.12

Any The Kaje regulars will know that Ane Brun is a little bit of an office favourite. Having taken her fanbase and critics by storm with her latest studio album, the long-awaited “It All Starts With One”, Brun treated dedicated followers to an equally impressive deluxe double disc edition of the award-winning collection. To top it all off, Brun has headed out on the road to cement her place in her fans hearts. But before we get to see our much-loved Norwegian folkstress, she has ensured a magical line-up to warm  the atmosphere for her arrival.

Up first is fellow Norwegian, Brun’s cellist Linnea Olsson. With selections from her recently released debut album “Ah!”, Olsson demonstrates a warm wit and stirring musical capability. An other-wordly vocal sends shivers down the spine, while Olsson waxes lyrical about comical love situations and obscure life experiences. Effortlessly winning the rapidly growing audience, Olsson’s set flies by in the blink of an eye, but no doubt leads to endless sales at the merch desk immediately post-set.

Confident performer Gemma Ray arrives on stage thankful to be performing on home turf. While she is clearly aware of her own abilities, Ray never descends into arrogance. Instead she swaggers her way through a varied set of colourful sixties influenced numbers. As the set draws to a close, she slows down the pace and allows her powerful vocal to take centre stage. Though her swinging step had got the toes tapping and shoulders shaking, the smoulder of her closing numbers were truly captivating.

Dressed in a flowing shiny purple silver gown, Brun breezes onto stage to screaming applause and launches immediately into the soothing yet haunting “These Days”. A silence descends immediately on the enchanted audience and it is apparent that Brun has immediately captured the hearts of all those that fill the sold out venue. Moving swiftly into the playful “It All Starts With One”, Brun demonstrates a fascinating ability to entirely lose herself within her moment yet at simultaneously interact and engage with everyone that surrounds her.

As Brun sashays her way through material old and new, a pin drop could
be heard as the silent audience are lost in the awe-inspiring magical moments that just ooze from Brun’s very presence.

While Brun may not be the most chatty of performers,when she speaks, she speaks with sincerity and warmth. Never feeling the need to explain the lyrics that so clearly touch her audience, instead she engages in light banter and encourages sing along moments. Genuinely touched by the warm response she receives, Brun commits 110% to every beat and every sound. Clever use of lighting and a skilled band enhance Brun’s presence and lift the night further into the realm of truly spectacularly unforgettable.

With her set evaporating quicker than stardust, Brun returns so to rework a personal favourite of hers, Arcade Fire’s “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)” as an encore for an audience hungry for more. Luckily for them Brun is in no hurry to head off as she welcomes her band back on stage to continue the show.

Brun is much more than a musician, she feels each twist and turn of a song and expresses it physically and vocally in a manner that truly connects and uplifts an audience. While on record she shines, on stage she blinds with her brilliance.

Rating: 5/5
Review and Photographs: Jeremy Williams

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