GALLERY: 03.05.2022 Kanga & Kaelan Mikla @ On The Rocks, Helsinki


It seems strange to find yourself watching again the same two bands performing live within a couple weeks (although in a different country), but tonight’s show, featuring the Icelandic trio KAELAN MIKLA supported by KANGA (US), was circled in red on our calendar for a long time. Apparently the same could be said for a whole lot of other people, since rumor was that there had been a very long queue to get inside the venue. This sounds surprising, not just for the unexpected appeal of the show to the general public – the acclaimed latest record combined with the previous Finnish show with ALCEST surely increased the popularity of the band – but also for it being a Tuesday (and in the end we saw pictures of that on social media, so the rumor was true).

Luckily we were already inside for quite some time when KANGA took the stage. The American “dark electro-pop” artist had the time to showcase some of her most popular pieces, as well as new material, but something was not quite right on this night and there was a certain detachment, or distance, between the artist dancing on stage – singing and moving her body while occasionally twisting the microphone around her neck and wrists – and the audience, which never really seem to get into the rhythm. KANGA herself didn’t seem to be on top of her game, which was a bit of a shame, as the previous performance 2 weeks before in the Netherlands was far more enjoyable.

This did not discourage the crowd from filling the venue – a feeling many might not have experienced in quite some time – waiting for KAELAN MIKLA to show up. The gig started on the notes of the opening song from their latest effort., “Undir Köldum Norðurljósum,” and the mood inside On The Rocks changed immediately. It’s good to notice though, that the set was very much balanced and did not predominantly represent only the newest album, something that allows even greater appreciation, given the quality of their earlier material. Nonetheless, the three Icelandic women have clearly matured in an artistic sense, both on record and on stage, finding their right dimension, and it was clearly visible in their performance.

Singer Laufey Soffía once again captivated the audience with her moves – and of course her vocals – while bass player Margrét Rósa and Sólveig Matthildur (synth) laid down the melodies that kept the crowd glued to the show from beginning to the end. Seeing them for the first time in the role of headliner, it looks like they passed the test with flying colors, as they definitely delivered a good performance.

It sure has been nice to see these young women grown in success with their band and it will be interesting to see where can they go from here.