Jenny Hval

Jenny Hval


When you walk into a Jenny Hval show, you know it’s going to be weird. Last time she graced a stage in Manchester, there were pouting girls, live iPad visuals and some fun karaoke competitions. So, tonight when she walks on stage in a yoga outfit clutching a half deflated yoga ball it’s not a shock. The gabble of pouting girls are gone though. Tonight it is simply Jenny on vocals and a male band mate responsible for all instrumentation.

The first songm ‘Kingsize’, off her new record starts proceedings. The feminist poem is dented with near deafening bass , but does end in style when Jenny disappears into the ball, before turning herself over to lie on it in the missionary position. With that one move, intrigue is built.

Then, the shoes are off. Next it’s ‘White Underground’ and the chorus is brilliant. There is a misfire halfway through though as she puts her mike down, yet her voice continues. She proceeds to make a joke about miming, but it just raises concern about how much actual singing there will be tonight. ‘Take Care Of Yourself’ is another song with a great chorus, and ‘Heaven’, the song that follows, is no less catchy but outdoes the former by ending with a brilliant vocal. It’s a high point of the gig,  but I still wonder what the yoga theme is all about, as whatever it is, it isn’t quite coming through.

Jenny then grabs her iPhone and plays Lana Del Rey’s ‘Summertime Sadness’ into the microphone. She stares vacantly at the phone and some of the audience laugh as if they are in on the joke, but I’m not sure they are. Jenny then takes off her tracksuit bottoms to reveal leggings, as ‘That Battle is Over’ start to rings out. Vocally and musically it is spot on.

At the end she lays down her tracksuit top and her tracksuit bottoms, putting her red wig at the top. She then proceeds to cosy up to it, before murmuring for a ridiculous amount of time. It’s a strange way to end the show, and at times such failed attempts at weirdness have detracted from the quality of the songs. The theme is slightly lost on us, and I’m not sure if a largely disused yoga ball, a yoga outfit and a song played off an iPhone really represents one at all. It’s a shame, but I’m sure her next experiment will be slightly more realised.

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Paddy Kinsella

Hi all, my name is Paddy and I have a love for everything from African music to indie to house (basically anything other than heavy metal). Gigging and listening to albums are genuinely the things I most value and love doing.