Ida Maria - The Old Blue Last
Live Review

Ida Maria + Good Shoes – London Astoria

“I should have got really good fakes for a hundred bucks” exclaims a clearly frustrated American boy next to me, pint of coke in hand. Fortunately for him, he’s not the only one sentenced to a night on the soft drinks – this is a 14+ gig. In theory the attendees should be a lively mix but asides from a middle-aged man who’s clearly taken a wrong turning the crowd is predictably teenaged. So teenaged in fact, that surrounded by these sprightly young things with their skinny jeans and ridiculously well groomed fringes, at the meagre age of twenty-one I feel practically geriatric.

Much to my relief, once feisty Norwegian songstress Ida Maria is on the stage I have completely forgotten my elderly status – she is captivating. In fact, unusually for me, it’s not until halfway through the third song that I even acknowledge the other band members at all. It’s difficult to pinpoint quite what it is about her but one thing is certain, this girl does not do things half-heartedly. As a result, her vocal has clearly suffered a little playing gig after gig but thanks to a charismatic delivery, it just doesn’t matter. Throughout the set, she oozes energy, gaining momentum with each song played. An early performance of ‘Louie’ – “this is about drinking quite a lot, too much” – quickly picks up the pace whilst ‘Better When You’re Naked’ complete with sing-a-long appeal, – and dedicated to all the boys in the audience – is positively addictive.

You’d think with songs about drinking, nakedness and general debauchery, Ida would go down a treat at a gig like this but instead the crowd are painfully restrained. Of course, teenagers do like to maintain a detached sense of cool, but this is just ridiculous. However, with infectious songs like these, it’s hard to keep up the act for long and soon enough the crowd begin to look they are enjoying themselves, if only a little bit. If not, then they are at least more attentive as she suddenly pours a bottle of water over her head and launches into a frenzied rendition of debut single ‘Oh My God’ to finish the set.

Rolling around on the floor, screaming a lot and pretty much destroying all microphones on stage, the crowd don’t quite know what to make of it. Admittedly, it does feel a little out of the blue and certainly not exclusive to this particular performance. That said, it is enjoyable to watch and undoubtedly a refreshing change to the pretty-girl-behind-the-piano persona that female musicians are all too frequently adopting these days. A girl next to me sums it up nicely: “I like her, but she’s a bit mental”. Indeed, for a supporting slot it could certainly be seen as a tad over the top. But that’s just it; the performance tonight was a headlining act in miniature, this 23-year old has clearly outgrown her warm-up status.

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