Equipped with a nose drip and 30 squares of toilet paper in my purse, I had the chance to see BjÃ¶rkâ€™s Voltaic in Hollywood at The Montalban on Vine and, well, Hollywood Blvd. Voltaic is essentially a compilation of the Paris and Reykjavik legs on her Volta tour. Though it looked like it was mostly from Paris (complete with BjÃ¶rk graciously exclaiming â€œMerci, Paris!â€ to conclude her songs), the movie had me convinced that I really need to see BjÃ¶rk live. It was such a treat to see her perform in the flesh â€“ that is, by way of widescreen â€“ and they made whatever memories of studio recordings I have of hers come to life.
I really loved the frocks BjÃ¶rk donned â€“ complimented by those on her all-female brass section, too. The first set was set upon a brilliant red and was borderline tribal, with BjÃ¶rk changing mid-way into her seemingly typical futuristic silver-pink space frock complete with metallic tights. Of course, she was barefoot the entire time and her bodily movements were unabashedly in tune with all the nuances and explosions that came with her songwriting.
Back to that all-female brass section. I couldnâ€™t sing enough praises about it. They doubled as able backup dancers and headbangers, the way a tribal brass section should. Maybe itâ€™s an Icelandic thing (see: Sigur RÃ³s in Heima).
And where traditional wind instruments left off, the Reactable picked up. BjÃ¶rk, after all, was the musician to debut the ground-breaking synthesizer in a musical performance (at 2007 Coachella, nonetheless) during â€œDeclare Independenceâ€ â€“which also was on the Voltaic setlist. I do wish that Voltaic showed more of the Reactable doing its magic. Itâ€™s mind-blowing to see sounds created, then manipulated by moving cubes around on a table. Moar!!
I was impressed with the setlist itself â€“ with it appropriately alternating between her hits and showcasing the best off Volta (Earth Intruders, Wanderlust). Army of Me in particular blew my mind. Maybe I just love when BjÃ¶rk goes industrial, or the song itself is allowed to vamp loud and well live. But the entire setlist left me smiling. Joga was beautiful as ever. Hunter left me in awe of the unquestionably skilled drummer with its intricate drumline. And Bachelorette served as a reprise throughout the setlist. The only thing that could have served it better was perhaps live violins â€“ but thatâ€™s just my own bias speaking.
You can get your own dose of Voltaic on June 30, when the following formats will be dropped:
- Disc One (CD) – Songs From The Volta Tour Performed Live At Olympic Studios
- Disc Two (DVD) – The Volta Tour Live In Paris, Live in Reykjavik
- Disc Three (DVD) – The Volta Videos and the video competition
- Disc Four (CD) -Â The Volta Mixes
Not all songs in Voltaic are new, but as presented in concert â€“ all of BjÃ¶rk is fresh.
You can listen to Voltaic on NPR here.