I SEE RIVERS / Storme @ The Half Moon, Putney

I See Rivers at he Half Moon, Putney

Independent Music Venue Week 2020

A bitterly cold Tuesday night was not enough to deter an enthusiastic crowd from attending this event. I SEE RIVERS have proved popular with Fresh On The Net readers. They have also been regulars on the The BBC Introducing Mixtape with our own Tom Robinson. Tonight they are representing Independent Music Venue Week 2020 at the iconic Half Moon in Putney.

First up though is support act Storme. Storme is Swedish singer Amanda Liedberg and she is aided and abetted by producer Gabriele Mazza. Both are dressed all in white. He stoops over synth, mixer and electronic drums which he energetically pounds between operating the backing track. She takes centre stage, swaying and strutting as she engages the audience with her smiley, chatty persona. Their music is cinematic and dreamy at times. Rich resonant synth chords and booming electronic drum pads accompany Liedberg’s powerful, soprano range vocals which are edgy and biting at times, soft and soothing at others.

Queen and Ticket To Heaven are particular highlights and there’s a thundering rendition of new single Back To Her. It is an entertaining and uplifting performance, helped by the breadth and quality of their repertoire and Liedberg’s charismatic and likeable persona.

I SEE RIVERS are moving in a very positive direction. Their recent achievements include an appearance on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch Show. Judging by the numbers prepared to turn up in Putney at a midweek gig, their following is clearly growing. The trio are all from widely different regions of Norway but met in England and, after four years in Liverpool, relocated to the South West Wales coast about two years ago. 

The principal line-up consists of Lill on drums and vocals; Gøril on guitar and vocals and Eline on keyboards and vocals. They do swap instruments at one point though with Lill on keys, Eline on guitar and Gøril on drums. Lill does the majority of the talking but the other two chip in here and there. 

From the outset the combination of Gøril’s reverberant guitar and the trio’s breathtaking harmonies establish themselves as the centrepieces of the band’s sound. While Gøril’s playing displays a lightness of touch and a penchant for suspended and open chords and chugging single-note riffs, Eline’s keyboard adds rich textures and Lill’s drumming can be tribal one moment, subtle the next. 

Within the first song, Lill has persuaded the audience to sing a simple refrain over which the band add their harmonies. There are times when you could close your eyes and be fooled that there are considerably more than three of them on stage, such is the fullness of their vocal sound. Their musicianship is stunning too and the chemistry they have found is continuously in evidence.

At one point, they take the guitar and leave the stage to set up literally in the middle of the audience to play a song, underlining both the value they place on interaction with their fans and the self-confidence that enables them to take such a bold step. Without asking for it, they command silence from a respectful audience so that we all get to hear this unamplified performance.

Another surprise is an inspired cover of the Neiked hit Sexual. But it is their own material that is most impressive. Helios is a song inspired by the Greek God who flew across the sky in a chariot. Lill proffers that ‘we all have someone like that in our lives’. We Don’t Get More Time is a poignant comment on the continuing destruction of the environment.

Comparisons are many. My friend mentions The Staves, First Aid Kit and Warpaint. I concur but also hear strains of Enya in the ethereal harmonies and pounding drums. To call their music Folk or even Indie Folk does not adequately describe their sound. Certainly there are elements of Dream Pop and other flavours in there too. They end, as they started, by involving the audience in an extended singalong before returning by popular demand for the encore. Tonight I SEE RIVERS owned the stage and venue. They already have the aura of an established successful band. 2020 can be an important year for them.

Neil March

Neil March is a Composer & Artist with a PhD and Masters in music composition from Goldsmiths University, who has pursued careers in the contemporary classical and pop worlds, and has been supported by BBC Introducing, for whom he performed with his live ensemble The Music of Sound at Latitude in 2017. Read more.

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