Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Malfunction! Malfunction!

Okay, so London can be great. The other week, something that I really, really hoped would happen while I was in London happened (please ignore that poorly-constructed sentence): I saw HK119.

London's music scene has been way drier than I expected. I have seen some great acts - Alphabeat, Mew, Pet Shop Boys - who would probably never tour Australia. However, several acts who I thought would never tour Australia - Frida Hyvönen among others - have toured Australia while I've been gone.

However, i can say with some certainty that HK119 will never make it to Australia. She is a 44-year-old Finnish woman who spends part of her time making ceramic art and another part of her time making abrasive electro-pop about a futuristic dystopia in which consumerism has gone mad. Of course, that doesn't sound too original, but I feel HK - Heidi Kilpeläinen - approaches the idea with much more humour than others. There is great wit and playfulness in some of her lyrics. But that wouldn't count for shit if her tunes didn't stack up. I adore her music
and was so stoked to see her live. It was the only weekend in five weeks that I was going to be in London, so I was really lucky. I was counting down to the show the way I did when I was a teenager.

She played in a tiny club in Old Street (formerly Trash Palace
, a London venue I dreamed of visiting back in Sydney). There were thirty, maybe forty people in the audience. She came onstage in a gold catsuit at about 1AM, and put on an absolutely insane seven-song show. Here I am, looking on, bemused, as she frolicks in styrofoam snow that tumbled out of the cardboard hat she was wearing until a few moments earlier. Other highlights of her performance included a hat made out of discarded garbage bags and the final song, in which she stood on a stool in the rear of the stage, quaking in the corner and shrieking into the microphone as she shone a flashlight into her eyes.



I'll remember that night for a long time to come. (I also enjoyed the bit afterwards where I thanked her in her civilian clothes and she squeezed my arm and thanked me for coming. IT WAS BETTER THAN MEETING KYLIE MINOGUE.)

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