LIVE: Björk’s Cornucopia Tour – The O2 Arena, London 19.11.19

An opulent, self aware, stunning two hour performance: Icelandic icon Björk was able to “weave a matriarchal dome” over the heads of her transfixed crowd during her Cornucopia live show at London’s O2 Arena. The music pioneer brought her Utopian vision to life through pitch perfect vocals, beautifully orchestrated collaborative sounds, and breath-taking visuals.

Before the show began, a polite audio recording requested that fans refrain from filming or photographing the show, as this would be distracting to Björk. Surprisingly, the majority of fans respected her wishes, and immersed themselves in listening to the aural grandeur of the Icelandic choir who opened the Cornucopia show against a curtain backdrop laced with tropical flowers.

When Björk’s altruistic vocals broke through the airwaves and the stage curtain parted; it felt like straying into a Midsummer Night’s Dream. Dressed in a unique ensemble and accompanied by performers who were both decorated like, and sounded like birds of paradise; Björk delivered a passionate rendition of ‘The Gate’. A flute ensemble led her in to ‘Utopia’, followed by the divine sounds of ‘Arisen My Senses’ with live harp accompaniment and more stunning visuals.

With a clear focus on her two most recent studio albums – 2017’s Utopia, and 2019’s Virtual Reality record Vulnicura – Björk’s set list, shape-shifting animations and optics truly transcended the fourth wall between fans and performer. The set’s sensuality was heightened by so many elements – the incredible stage design, the affluent costumes – as well as Björk’s willingness to experiment with new forms of sound during live shows. At one point in the set, she sings next to a percussionist who is pouring water over pebbles, with the crowd so entranced that it almost feels like every water drop is audible.

With only a handful of older songs making the cut for this performance (most notably ‘Venus As A Boy’ and a partial rendition of ‘Pagan Poetry’), whether this was your first time seeing Björk, or your fiftieth time; Cornucopia is an audio & visual force unlike any other. Björk’s artistic vision is uncompromising in so many ways, which is made especially clear towards the latter part of the show.

Her elaborate spectacle is underscored by a sincere desire to highlight the current climate crisis we are all witnessing. A series of words were projected on to the veil-like stage curtain, urging all to imagine a brighter future under that “matriarchal dome”, with the final statement – “Imagine a future. Be in it” – prompting applause from the crowd. There was a video message from climate crisis activist Greta Thunberg during the finale too, further encouraging fans to practice what Thunberg passionately, and necessarily preaches.

A performance that – despite this review – transcends the barriers of language; Björk’s Cornucopia show deserves to be seen in all its live glory. Its potent message about protecting the earth, and each other, still rings true long after the spotlight fades out. Björk’s vision serves as a reminder to all that altruism and ingenuity mean nothing if there’s not a planet for us all to share, and experience them on.

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

PLAYLIST: December 2017

The most wonderful time of the year is fast-approaching, and we’ve got no time to mess around (with the exception of the work Christmas party, those festive drinks tomorrow night, and that gig next week). Us Get In Her Ears grrrls have put together the best selection of treats since your Nan dished out the speciality Christmas-size box of biscuits. Lose yourself in the punk sass of Queen Zee, the important (and catchy) activism of Gaptooth & Sisters Uncut, the divine escapism of Black Gold Buffalo, the beautiful sounds of AmparoBjork and many, many more…

Queen Zee – ‘Idle Crown’
Hot on the heels of their last single ‘Fly The Pink Flag’, my absolute favourites Queen Zee have released brand new track ‘Idle Crown’; and it’s a riotous, hostile, smartly executed three and a half minutes of Marilyn Manson-esque garage punk. Released via the band’s own label (Sasstone Records), the Liverpool band have yet to record something I don’t instantly fall in love with. (Kate Crudgington)

Gaptooth (feat. Sisters Uncut) – ‘They Cut We Bleed’
A tribute to, and raising money for, Feminist direct action group Sisters Uncut – a charity who protest the life-threatening cuts to services for domestic violence – Gaptooth’s ‘They Cut We Bleed’ rages against the government with a frenzied, impassioned energy and empowering force. With shades of the likes of Le Tigre or MEN, it oozes whirring beats, glitchy electronic melodies and colourful uplifting vibes; the perfect call to arms that we need now more than ever. As Gaptooth says: “All these sexist, racist cuts, we don’t need ’em”. Watch the powerful video for ‘They Cut We Bleed’, featuring Sisters Uncut, here. (Mari Lane)

Sink Ya Teeth – ‘If You See Me’
‘If You See Me’ was the debut single from Sink Ya Teeth who signed to James Endeacott’s 1965 Records this year. The track is drenched in addictive beats and nods to post-punk royalty ESG. A particular highlight for me was watching Sink Ya Teeth perform this live at one of our Finsbury nights; catch them if you can, these guys are worth seeing live. (Tash Walker)

Anteros – ‘Love’
My eyes and ears are blossoming in to heart-shapes at the “effervescent pop” sounds on Anteros’ latest single ‘Love’. Produced by Charlie Andrew (Alt-J, Marika Hackman, Bloc Party), The London-based band channel Blondie and The Cardigans on their brand new ode to the all encompassing universal emotion. (KC)

Sonia Stein – ‘Do You Love Me?’
‘Do You Love Me?’, the new single from London based artist Sonia Stein, oozes gloriously sunny, uplifting ‘80s pop vibes, catchy hooks and rich luscious vocals. Of the track, Stein explains: “Do You Love Me is a song that is quite a bright and light approach to a feeling that’s a bit darker and heavier… The track’s accompanied by a fantastic Vogue-inspired, pastel-filled video, which you should definitely feast your eyes on now. (ML)

Amparo – ‘Reset’
If I could…I would have chosen everything that Amparo has released this year, constantly creating such beautiful dreamy soundscapes but if forced (and I am being forced) I’d go with ‘Reset’. A firm favourite of mine taken from Amparo’s EP Isolated Islands which has a melodic-chill atmosphere created with the idea of being enjoyed whilst exploring the outdoors.  Absolutely excellent listening. (TW)

Black Gold Buffalo – ‘Pearls Deep’
If you’re in search of musical escapism, you’ll find it in Black Gold Buffalo’s latest track ‘Pearls Deep’. Written on a stormy night in a tower block somewhere near the A10, the East London band have said the single is about “wanting to escape a brooding mood in the city, to just get up and go somewhere and nowhere.” It’s the first single to be taken from the band’s long-awaited debut album, which is due to be released in March 2018. (KC)

Gold Baby – ‘Feed It!’
In addition to featuring members of some of our favourite bands (like Long Teeth), newcomers Gold Baby create their own hugely infectious offerings. Filled with all the jangly melodies, sumptuous vocals and whirring scuzzy goodness you could ever desire, debut single ‘Feed It!’ is a sunny-sounding slice of indie-rock ruminating on the times in life where we feed it (“the little voice of misery”). A solid gold debut that leaves us eager for more. (ML)

Polo – ‘Gold Horizons’
I was introduced to this track by Mari, so shout out to her for that. This has got to be the catchiest track of the year for me, which makes a change from my normal graveyard, self-deprecating morose electro. Press play for Polo. It’s worth it. (TW)

Björk – ‘The Gate’
One of my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions was to listen to more of Bjork’s music, so the release of her tenth studio album Utopia has arrived just in time for me to fulfil that promise. It’s a superbly produced, delicately sung, gem of an album that brought a tear to my eye on first listen. ‘The Gate’ is a particular favourite because it blends vulnerability and strength in a delightfully idiosyncratic way. (KC)

The Go! Team – ‘Mayday’ 
If you’re anything like me, and Thunder Lightening Strike provided the soundtrack to many a teenage night out, you’ll be as excited as I am to hear The Go! Team’s magnificent new single ‘Mayday’. A morse-code inspired, soul-infused belter of a track, it races with all the frenzied energy and playful joy that we’ve come to know and love from the band – an instant ear worm, and essential dance-inducing addition to any festive party playlist. (ML)

Smerz – ‘Because’
Low slung rhythms, crunching beats and those ever so distinctive vocals, Because in short is some of the best obscure techno-pop around. Copenhagen based duo delivering distorted electro tracks, a perfect mix of minimal futurism and experimental nostalgia.  I’m so into this track, it makes me feel like I want to don a heavy orange bomber jacket, an East 17 style beanie and head down to some industrial rave in a warehouse and two-step the night away. (TW)