If Danish band Efterklang and their comrades – and on this night, support act – Slaraffenland are ambassadors of their homeland, then sign me up for a one-way trip to the country of happy smiley people.
With their exuberantly positive attitude, fun approach to music and obvious love for live performing, these two bands were the perfect live acts to see on a dreary Sunday night. First up in Whelans’ main room were Slaraffenland, whose name translates roughly to -the land of milk and honey’ – fittingly, they were as delighted as anyone living in such a place could be. With their spot-on harmonies, quirky comments – -Tell us an Irish word we can’t pronounce!’ yelled one member to a bemused audience – and penchant for handclaps, they were an engaging opening act. Going since 2002, and with two albums and three EPs under their belt, it’s about time they became a bigger name in Ireland.
The handclaps and harmonies were also to the fore during Efterklang’s set, which was a perfect example of how nice guys don’t always finish last. While Slaraffenland had the buffed look of the popular guys in high school, Efterklang appeared more like the odd-looking art students that sit in the corner at lunch time – but without the dreariness. Frontman Casper Clausen had the wide-eyed look of a man as captivated with his audience as they were with him, applauding us on our exuberance on traditionally the gloomiest night of the week. Like Slaraffenland, Efterklang’s harmonies were pitch-perfect, with keyboardist Rune Fonseca MÃ¸lgaard adding a feminine strength to all of their songs.
As tight as their sound was, there was still a sense of effortlessness in Efterklang’s performance – even with relatively newer songs from their latest album, Magic Chairs. Compared to their previous works, the songs from Magic Chairs show how Efterklang are less predictable now – more fluid; willing to break things down but still eager to layer up the various instruments employed by the multi-talented members. What all of their songs have in common, however, is the overwhelming sense of positive energy that they carry. At a time when Ireland often feels like a country where there’s no one in charge, it’s easy for spirits to wilt – especially when this negativity is bleeding into our music scene (see the recent IMRO-music bloggers debacle). Perhaps we should invite Efterklang to become our new ambassadors and shake some positivity into us – or maybe we should all move to Denmark, land of milk, honey, and the happiest people this side of the equator.
Photos by Damien McGlynn.
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