This week’s post is a bit of a flier. Generally these “How I Got Into….” stories go back some years – school, university, early working life.
This one goes back less than a month.
Highasakite were the support band for Of Monsters And Men when we saw them a couple of weeks ago, but they feel like a band I’m going to enjoy, so I’ll record here how I got into them.
(For anyone who’s not been following this series from the start, one of the objectives was that when I’m old(er) and my memory’s going (more than now), I’ll be able to look back on this blog and remember why I liked certain things in the first place).
I’ve seen a lot of support bands over the years, and most feel like an irritation, taking up stage time till the headliners come on. I don’t hang out in the bar while they’re on – I’ve paid my money, I’m getting the full value – but that means I don’t always get entertained. Occasionally a band makes enough of an impression to be worth checking out later, maybe even buy a CD (hello, Blind Pilot). I’ve never been in the situation of having seen the early appearance of one of those bands who go on to make it big.
So I didn’t have high expectations when the support band, who introduced themselves as Highasakite, took to the stage in Birmingham a few weeks ago. But they opened with a very striking lighting effect, the guitarist was playing with a violin bow (and later switched to flugelhorn), and the singer (Ingrid Helene Håvik) was kind of enigmatic with a strong voice. The video below is the same song and performance they opened with at Birmingham – I hope you can see how this would grab your attention (then listen to it a couple more times, just so it really gets into your head).
For half an hour they played a really good set, that got the crowd bouncing and rocking, and built a good mood before OMAM came on. So I went to check them out when I got home.
Highasakite are from Norway – I seem to be developing a thing for bands from the north with female vocalists….this won’t the last one that features in this series- and their last album Silent Treatment went to number 1 in the Norwegian album charts. They play a kind of indie-rock, not dissimilar to OMAM which is probably why they went down well with that crowd, a very good choice of opening act.
I’ll be interested to see how my liking for this band develops, and whether they’re someone who will grow into more mainstream and international consciousness or remain peripheral, just another of the number of very good bands around at the moment with a dedicated but small following. They’ve already sold out a London gig for February, so that’s a promising sign, and some of the songs have the feel of future festival favourites.
The other thing that will be interesting is the direct connection via social media. I commented on a tweet by Highasakite’s “unofficial fan club” @Highasakitena, which had come up on my timeline through the Of Monsters And Men tag; then my tweet picked up a comment from the band themselves (@highasakiteband). This never happened when I was growing up – the bands I knew were either your mates from school or distant god-like creatures who inhabited a different universe. Now there’s a direct bidirectional link – this band sent me a message. How cool is that?
And, for someone my age, that’s a bit odd. When I post this, it will go onto Twitter and Facebook, and may get picked up by the band or their other followers, or be picked up through searches. So in writing I’m assuming that the people I’m writing about will read it. But if I say something critical about Highasakite will they be upset, or offended? I wouldn’t want to do that. But do bands now accept that as part of the deal – you’re promoting yourself through social media, so you take what comes back?
Or more likely, as I’m just one of 4,800 Twitter followers (as of today) and over 37,000 people who have “liked” their Facebook page, they probably wouldn’t notice. But I know that new bands will be starting out with an understanding of social media, and possibly a bunch of analytics to go with it, so maybe they will. I didn’t get that feeling writing about Van Morrison or Joni Mitchell.
So this is going to be a journey in many senses. Please take a listen – you may decide you want to come on the journey too.
And maybe, a few years from now, I’ll be able to say “Highasakite? Yeah, saw them opening for Of Monsters And Men back in ’15. Knew they’d make it big.” Which will be nice.
Here are a few more links:
Since Last Wednesday – this will get into your head too
Hiroshima – with flugelhorn!
Leaving No Traces – starts slowly, but wait till itgets going