Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Blog: Oya Festival - Day Four

(Originally published on The Fly)

After three days of teetering on the edge of the giant body of water next to Oya’s Enga stage, it’s about time someone went for a paddle. Enter Este Haim. “I have a slight feeling I’m gonna end up in the water by the end of the set!” she claims, before her plans are quashed by disapproving looks from her sisters.

After a run of approximately 2000 festival dates this summer, Danielle Haim has lost her voice, and Alana and Este take over on vocals. It means we miss out on a large percentage of Este’s patented “bass-face”, as she’s too busy singing to gurn, but both girls more than hold their own, especially on a stripped-back version of ‘Falling’. By the end of the set, Este’s dress has been peeled off and discarded on the floor, and Alana is running around the stage playing with her sisters’ hair and rolling around on the floor. Sceptics may suggest the girls’ on-stage antics were attempts to fill the ambitious hour-long set time, but when they’re as entertaining as this, it’s hard to care either way.

Strolling past the Sjosiden stage, we stumble upon what sounds like it could be an unannounced second set from Grimes, but turns out to be Norweigan artist Truls. With the face of Action Bronson and the voice of Kate Bush, he turns out to be as confusing as he is wonderful.

It's then on to Unknown Mortal Orchestra, who bring extended guitar wig-outs, drum solos and an effortless swagger to an equal number of tracks from their self-titled debut, and this year's fantastic follow-up "II". Where the records are a fairly laid back affair, each song transforms into its own world in a live setting, leaving the crowd bewitched by Ruben Nielson's wizardry.

Nothing could prepare what followed in The Knife's headline slot, providing you'd somehow avoided the umpteen blogs/thought pieces/rants/tweets about their already infamous "Shaking the Habitual" live show. Rolling up to their set 10 minutes before their allotted start time meant you were greeted by the delightful warm-up act - an androgynous pirate giving an aerobics lesson of sorts to The Rapture's "Get Myself Into It". All very run of the mill...

Or at least it was made to appear so, in contrast to the absolute lunacy that followed. The Knife brought dancers in abundance, who were at times literally throwing shapes, and sort-of played live, in something that can only be described as Sweden's answer to Stomp, reimagined in the year 3000.

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