Following previous evenings’ headliners Arcade Fire, Arctic Monkeys and Kendrick Lamar, the Friday of the Oslo festival kicked off with a riotous set from stoner rock veterans …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, before Norway’s own Halie’s take on sweet and polished arena pop showcased why she’s set to follow in the footsteps of Sigrid as the country’s next great pop export.
Charlotte Gainsbourg attracted the first huge crowd of the day to the main stage with a decadent dose of elegiac electro-pop from her acclaimed 2017 album ‘Rest’, but it was St Vincent who stole the day as she packed out the Sirkus Tent with an update on her latest ‘MASSEDUCTION’ production.
While her ‘Fear The Future’ world tour last year divided opinion by choosing to play solo with just a backing track, her latest incarnation sees her back with a full band atop LED plinths and backed by surreal imagery of a dystopian future. With robotic choreography set to high-speed firecracker guitarwork, ‘Los Ageless’ and ‘Digital Witness’ invite the most fevered reaction from the often somewhat reserved Norwegian crowd.
Dedicated as “a hymn for anyone who ever felt like they didn’t belong”, the quickened new mix of recent single ‘Slow Disco’ lands like an automatic fan favourite, before she takes to centre stage for the emotional outro of ‘New York’ with lyrics altered to honour Oslo landmarks and neighbourhoods.
Reviewing her set, NME concluded: “Few other artists can match the sheer scope of St Vincent’s ambition and vision. She’s taken a sci-fi fever dream and turned the stage into a world of her own. Picking up the mantle from collaborator David Byrne, Annie Clark continues to reinvent and reimagine what is possible for a rock show. See her on tour at all costs.”
St Vincent’s setlist was:
Fear the Future
While usually lower the bill at many of her festival appearances in 2018, Lykke Li’s stark take on Scandi-noir sadpop finds her headlining in Norway. Leaning heavily on material from her acclaimed 2018 album ‘So Sad So Sexy‘, the record’s hip-hop bounce and R&B swagger add a new energy and compulsion to her dark and sultry sound. The title track, ‘Deep End’ and ‘Sexy Money Feelings Die’ stand out as peaks, but its the cinematic ‘Gunshot’ and the dance-driven closer of ‘I Follow Rivers’ that see the crowd erupt.
- Read more: Lykke Li on how heartbreak, hip-hop and lots of Mezcal helped ‘So Sad So Sexy’ come to life
Reviewing the show, NME concluded: “As she stalks the gangway and tends to the teary-eyed, hollering devotees that occupy the front rows, Lykke Li needs no high concept stage set or fireworks to show what a headliner can do. Her latest evolution sees her liberated from the shackles from of her monochrome past and running with the colour and energy of her more-chart friendly energy. Who knew that sadness could be this much fun?”
Øya concludes this evening with performances from Patti Smith, J Hus, Sløtface, Lindstrøm, Bendik and Cezinando. Check back at NME for the latest from Øya 2018.