Live Review: Linnea Olsson, Rescue Rooms (9/3/13)

Have you ever heard  a cellist cover Kraftwerk? No? Then your life is not has not been as full and rich as that of anyone, who was in Rescue Rooms’ red room on Saturday night. Linnea Olsson‘s cello treated the audience to a night of wonderful sounds from this undervalued member of the string family, whilst Olsson’s voice soared and accompanied her instrumentation beautifully.

First, we had a supporting bill of some of Nottingham’s most exciting upcoming artists. This was topped by Georgie Rose How, who delivered an assured performance that more than justified her billing as one of the most exciting upcoming artists in NottinghamEvery time that Georgie Rose How steps on stage, she seems to have grown in confidence and stature; this gig was no different. She produced a faultless set of songs, including one which she only wrote yesterday, but already sounded very sharp. There were times in this support set that Georgie Rose How sounded like June Carter Cash, there were times that she sounded like Laura Marling, but most of the time she just sounded like Nottinghamshire’s very own Georgie Rose How and that is something to be very excited about.

The bar had well and truly been raised now for the performance of our Swedish songstress with a Cello. From the moment that Linnea Olsson stepped on stage and begun to play the cello, silence descended upon Rescue Rooms as the entire venue became mesmerised by the exceptional musicianship that was on offer. Linnea Olsson opened with the opening track of her debut album Ah!, an instrumental piece entitled ‘The Ocean’. This succeeded in demonstrating from the off that we were dealing with an incredibly accomplished musician, who recreated a rich cello piece on her own with the usage of loop machines. Olsson followed this up by demonstrating that her stunning voice could complement the instrumentation perfectly with the title track of the album ‘Ah!’.

Linnea Olsson continued to deliver tracks from her debut album to a very high standard, however she also interspersed this with covers. Last year, Linnea was in Peter Gabriel’s backing band, so I expected a cover of ‘Solsbury Hill’, however she produced something much less expected, when she produced a stirring cover of Massive Attack’s ‘Unfinished Sympathy’. This surprise was only trumped a few songs later, when she gave a remarkable rendition of Kraftwerk’s 1986 song ‘Sex Object’.

Additonally, Linnea made every effort to give every song a personal feel. Despite, English not being her first language, Linnea was very sociable with the audience: telling us about her hometown in Sweden, her time touring the UK, and giving every song an introduction and context, which gave the gig a very personal feel. In this respect, she came across as much more eloquent then 90% of British musicians.

Linnea was clearly nervous and at times struggled to set up the songs correctly on the loop machines, such as before ‘All 4 U’; however the songs were so wonderfully executed when correctly set up that the audience had no problem with  a slight wait before some songs.

The set reached a very strong conclusion with the moving ‘Never Again’, being followed by a powerful vocal tribute to her family (‘I am Younger’). Linnea concluded the set with the lead single from Ah!: ‘Dinsoaur’, which was executed perfectly and very well received.

We were treated to one last cover, this time Bjork’s ‘Unravel’, before the gig ended and there was almost a ruckus to congratulate Linnea on her stirring gig. This gig established that when a musician is this talented on an instrument, it can produce wonderful results. Everyone in Rescue Rooms on Saturday night was privileged enough to witness the strongest exposition of the cello I think any of us will ever see.

Liam Coleman

…Liam has been listening to Duologue- Endless Imitation…


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