On Thursday night (18th) I went down to the Lexington on Pentonville Road, to watch (and photograph) three nordic bands at the monthly Ja Ja Ja Nordic event showcasing new and unknown talent from Scandinavia. The first one I went to, in October, featured Icelanders Rökkurró (who provided the music for my Iceland video), The Deer Tracks, from Sweden, and Norway’s Low Frequency in Stereo. It was the first live event I’d been to for a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. A few weeks later, Hjaltalín, one of Iceland’s most popular bands, played at the Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, and at both events I’d seen people wandering round unchallenged with their cameras, so I decided I’d give it a go myself.
The set opened with Lára Rúnars, an Icelandic singer with a striking haircut, and a taste for poppy bouncy tunes. I was stood at the back of the room by the bar, which was raised above the mosh pit, meaning I could use the 300mm lens to get some close-cropped images of Lára as she twirled and yelped with her hair flying in all directions.
Next up were the most popular band of the evening, Niki and the Dove, a three-piece from Sweden featuring vigorous vocals from singer Malin Dahlström over electronic bleeps and beats, reminiscent of The Knife. For this performance I moved closer to the stage and switched to my 105mm lens.
The set ended with Champagne Riot, a Danish two-piece featuring a vocalist and a laptop. Behind the performers two girls stood, one drumstick each, bashing some retro 1980s style electronic drum pads, but as all the sound was coming from the laptop I got the feeling they were just there for effect. The floor had emptied by this time as most people appeared to have turned up for the Swedes, meaning I had more freedom to move in front of the stage for more angles.
I will definitely be doing more photography of this kind in future, hopefully at venues where the lighting is a bit more varied. It’s certainly one of the best ways to mix up two of my favourite activities, and my only regret is I didn’t start doing this much, much sooner.