This show crept up on me, but thanks to the fine folks at Timbre Concerts, I got to sneak in at the last minute. I ‘discovered’ Ane Brun one evening whislt down the Youtube rabbit-hole and have enjoyed her quirky (though sometimes morose) pop whenever it showed up on a playlist or something. This tour saw her piling into some cities she had not been to before, but her reputation seems to have preceded her, selling out a number of markets in the US and Canada. This would be her first time visiting Vancouver, and she arrived solo but for her opener and stagemate, Linnea Olsson.
Olsson hails from Sweden, and quietly strolled out on stage and took her place seated behind an array of loop pedals and her cello. Soft-spoken and good-humoured, she had lots of anecdotes about her songs, and apologized for not having brought enough of her records with her as they had already sold out this late in the tour. But, she said, you can order them off the internet ‘and other such places.’ Someone in the crowd shouted, ‘But then you can’t sign them!,’ to which she quickly replied, ‘Oh, well, I can sign your bodies instead.’ The audience seemed pleased with this compromise and cheered in response. ‘You can never wash again!,’ she continued.
Her music was lilting and playful and childlike, and she created some pretty amazing soundscapes by looping the noises she got from applying rather creative use to that single cello. She played for just around half an hour, and then left the stage for a small break before Ane Brun began her set.
Brun came out alone for the first few songs, sporting a relatively new haircut and an absolutely amazing bit of wardrobe. The best I can describe it is a sort of rockstar mashup of Cyndi Lauper and both Blanche and Dorothy from the Golden Girls. Plus, who doesn’t love a pair of satin spats, right? She opened her set strongly with Do You Remember, adapted for solo acoustic guitar. She also had many anecdotes to relay, with an overall theme of absolute love. Love of playing music, love of her life, love of her decision to release all her music independently, love of celebrating 10 years of doing so, love of us, love of Olsson, love of her homeland (Norway) and adopted homeland (Sweden)… And she pointed out that Vancouver is the furthest she has ever played a show from home, but is also the place that looks most like home… mountains and fjords (well in Vancouver, they are inlets, not fjords, but the look is the same).
After three songs solo, Olsson came back out on stage, and the two of them sung together and were accompanied by cello, guitars, and from time to time, piano. Brun’s casual style of playing manifested itself a couple of times when she missed a note or even forgot the words to her own songs once or twice. Rather than play through the mistakes as if nothing had happened, she’d make a face and a strangled yelp, and backtrack or stop the song entirely to correct herself and have a good laugh about it. Many of the songs are, originally, very involved, layered, even orchestral. Brun brought with her no prerecorded loops or backing tracks, opting instead to reinterpret the music for this stripped down style of show. She pointed out that she loves recreating her own music like this, seeing it from a new perspective. She can even be surprised by her own material. Vancouverites have waited a long time to see Brun perform, and periodically through the evening, voices would pipe up around the room shouting, ‘we love you!’ and, ‘thank you for coming to Vancouver!’ Brun responded appreciatively to all the cheers.
She gave us a small encore as well, and finished the show by thanking everyone – the venue, the sound guy, the guitar tech, the audience, Linnea Olsson – then grabbing Olsson up arm in arm for a hug and a bow before bidding us goodnight. Lovely, warm and intimate show.