Search
Get a personalised letter from Santa

Bjork at All Points East: Utopian flutes undeterred by lightning, indifference

PUBLISHED: 18:01 28 May 2018 | UPDATED: 23:08 28 May 2018

Bjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago Felipe

Bjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago Felipe

2018 Santiago Felipe

What’s the difference between a headline festival set and an intimate gig for diehard fans? Not, apparently, a question that concerned Bjork in preparation for her first UK show promoting the Utopia LP.

Bjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago FelipeBjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago Felipe

Never knowingly one to fulfil expectations, Bjork’s 41-year career has been a series of challenges to the traditional conception of a pop star, and this show was the latest attack on such notions.

Few would doubt her artistry, commitment to boundary-pushing and iconic vocal style – but some might question the wisdom of placing her alongside the more crowd-pleasing headliners of previous nights.

Bjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago FelipeBjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago Felipe

In this respect, Bjork did not exactly do herself any favours.

She appeared on stage at the centre of a rotating utopian island of greenery, sporting a Star Trek alien/orchid mask and surrounded by a troupe of likewise-masked flautists, while visualisations of explosively blooming flowers kept time with the beats of Arisen My Senses.

Bjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago FelipeBjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago Felipe

Although the opening was suitably bold and the rest of the set contained many memorable moments, such as a stunning tableau of the flautists battling against the elements during Notget, in general you could feel the audience’s patience being tested as one after another flute-based track with nature-based visualisations was performed.

Moments of excitement were provided by an angry-looking stormcloud on the horizon, whose many thunderbolts were assumed to have been summoned by the force-of-nature vocalist on stage - a more fitting trick for her Biophilia period.

Bjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago FelipeBjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago Felipe

Tellingly, the storm distracted large sections of the crowd from the intricate set design and beautifully delicate melodies.

A rare moment of engagement with the new material was provided during Tabula Rasa, the crowd responding with a cheer to “It is time/ For us women to rise/ And not just take it lying down”, and again when Bjork ended the song with a declaration of “Me Too!”

Bjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago FelipeBjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago Felipe

A palpable sense of relief greeted each fan favourite from earlier eras, flute-based versions of Isobel and Human Behaviour eliciting welcome moments of recognition.

Bjork took to Instagram after the show to express her gratitude to “londeners [with] ears wide open to my utopian flute experiment” and it was clear that the crowd, in spite of the uncompromising setlist, was grateful to be in Bjork’s presence.

Bjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago FelipeBjork on stage during her Sunday night set at All Points East in Victoria Park. Picture: Santiago Felipe

One expects, however, that playing a few more danceable tracks, or taking this show to a concert hall, might have been a better fit.

3.5/5

Related articles

Latest Hackney Stories

Yesterday, 18:00

With a month to go until the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup returns to the Lee Valley Velopark in Stratford, the Great Britain squad for the next round in Berlin has been announced.

Yesterday, 16:00

The Poplar-based club also hosted a show earlier this month which saw nine bouts contested

Yesterday, 13:31

The England midfielder discussed his recent extra responsibility in the Spurs side and talented youngster Oliver Skipp

Yesterday, 12:00

The O’s boss discussed Garry Hill’s return to management and backed his predecessor Daryl McMahon to find work sooner rather than later

Yesterday, 16:44

An old people’s home opened in Hackney Wick where one of the new residents told the Gazette: “We have never known comfort like it”.

Yesterday, 15:12

Tips on where to stay and what to eat in Dublin courtesy of our travel writer, Sophie Ritchie.

Yesterday, 14:00

Hackney’s biggest brewery has launched a new beer for its core range - the first new arrival in two years.

Yesterday, 13:42

Drug dealers arrested in dawn raids at a Stoke Newington estate have been jailed for a total of 22 years.

PROMOTED CONTENT

If you are an unpaid carer in Hackney over the age of 25, who would like to get back into work, then Working for Carers can provide the practical assistance and support you need.



Newsletter Sign Up

Hackney Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read entertainment

Show Job Lists