Catharsis incarnate: Lingua Ignota‘s sold out show at Hackney’s Oslo on Monday night was a vicious, yet vulnerable affair. The industrial/metal multi-instrumentalist’s hair-raising vocal range and dramatic performance style held her crowd in captivated silence, as she used her pitch perfect voice to sing songs about vengeance and violence.
With a set-list formed primarily of new material from her recent album Caligula, Lingua Ignota (aka Kristin Hayter) used minimal, but effective lighting to help deliver her brutal truths. Sometimes screened by a translucent plastic sheet at the back of the stage, sometimes strung up by her own hand with the wires from her lights; Hayter mastered the art of appearing calm as she intermittently screamed her lungs out. Whilst all of the songs performed were worthy of merit, her rendition of ‘Do You Doubt Me Traitor’ cut the deepest. It’s a powerful, vilifying song designed to unsettle and ignite fury, and Hayter used her operatic voice as a weapon to do just that.
Like an Anglerfish that dwells in dark waters attracting its prey with a dazzling light, Hayter used her portable spotlight to lure and illuminate her audience when she broke the fourth wall. The crowd obediently flocked towards her wielding their smart phones (naturally desperate to document the moment), but as with all live music; it’s best appreciated without the shield of a screen. Hayter’s fearless taking up of other people’s space perfectly accompanies her savage lyrics about taking down those who deny her, or abuse her self-autonomy.
A survivor of abuse and of industry misogyny (read her excellent interview with The Guardian here), Hayter has defiantly risen from these ashes in Phoenix-like fashion, and her live performance acts as proof of this. Her interrogative spotlight is not easy to escape, and her powerful voice is impossible to ignore.