Wednesday, January 30, 2008


The music press have been making patronising claims for years that each year is the 'year for women in music'. Seriously, I've read it about five times. But all sources would suggest that the industry think so too, with 'real' young ladies like Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen and Kate Nash being some of 2007's biggest success stories. I suspect that record companies were hesitant before, thinking young female buyers (historically, the most lucrative portion of the market) were more interested in male fronted bands. Without even trying I can reel off a list of several young female singers tipped for the top....Adele, Duffy, Laura Marling... and there'd be plenty more if I had my thinking cap on. Even Amy Studt is on the comeback trail...

Naturally this means that artists from my favourite musical region (Scandinavia) are being pipped for success. One of these ladies is Ida Maria, hailing from the tiny village of Nesna in Norway, though she cut her teeth in the music hotbed of Bergen on the way.

I went to see Ida's first show of a year of many, many shows. Though she was onstage at 9pm, the whole room was full and buzzing about her arrival. She took to the stage and strapped on a bass guitar and exclaimed something along the lines of 'this is the kind of music I used to play before this pop shit!' and proceeded to play a dirty, sexy, bluesy bass driven tune with rich, soulful vocals. Audience = thoroughly enraptured. After finishing she kicked off her (modest) heels and the rest of her band clambered on stage. It was time for 'shit pop music'!

Except Ida's pop music is the opposite of shit pop music (which she obviously knows is the case), it's feisty, punky, raw and highly energised, melody-driven pop music of the finest variety. Ida and her band only played around six songs, but there was a whole show's worth of energy packed into the 30 minute set. Louie bounced along with her powerful, but slightly cigarette-hoarse vocals full of cartoonish emotion. New single Stella had everyone bopping along and mouthing the words back at Ida, while the penultimate tune Better When You're Naked was so frantic that Ida needed to pour a bottle of water over her head and shake her hair like a wet dog over the crowd.

At times, you'd be forgiven for thinking the performance was a bit over-played. Too much enthusiasm, too much quirk, too much energy...could it be insincere? I'm not sure sincerity matters so much when you have melodies as perfect as Ida does, when you can get a Tuesday night crowd in Camden Town bouncing away after playing just two songs and when you're clearly having lots of fun on stage. The closer, Oh My God, was packed with urgency, energy and angst. It starts off a bit like This is our Emergency by Pretty Girls Make Graves and builds up to a chorus which would have Courtney Love envious of croakalicious energy!

I hope that 2008 will be an exciting year for Ida Maria. She's got a crazy schedule already and I'm seeing her in two weeks with the Raveonettes. In the meantime, check out her MySpace and make up your own mind.

posted by Robbie de Santos at 1/30/2008 10:39:00 pm


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