The Sebright Arms is quite an intimate venue to the extent that Frida Sundemo and her band were hanging out in the bar with us punters before the show. This led to a rather uncomfortable amount of attempted covert ogling and my friend trying to squeeze past her and in fact hitting her with a chair, leaving us looking like possibly the most enthusiastic coy fans ever or a bunch of stalkers. Not the most promising start. We then headed downstairs and three of us squeezed into the smallest ladies toilet I’ve ever encountered. As we all piled out, there she was again, waiting patiently for the loo. Cue more hilarity, giggling and general 12-year old girl behaviour. Most embarrassing.
Luckily the room had filled up quite a bit saving us all the embarrassment of the awkward front row. It was quite a mixed, but extremely enthusiastic, crowd, and looking around I was comforted to find I wasn’t the only one mouthing the lyrics to some of her more well-known tracks. She sounded genuinely touched by the good turnout for her first UK gig which may go some way to explaining the unavoidable nervousness evident in her voice. Her set was well constructed around her three biggest tracks, Indigo, Home and Snow, with some slow and brand new tracks slotted in between.
While the overall feeling I was left with was that they had quite a samey feel, it was undeniably a clear statement of her style and the influence of her Swedish heritage. What struck us most hearing Frida live, as opposed to remotely, was the strength and depth of her accompanying band. The booming rhythmical drumming was almost overpowering, especially given the initial low volume of her microphone. Pervading each track like a heartbeat, the drumming added momentum and a bass line to boogie to.
It’s certainly a bit niche and not for everyone, but given the turnout this evening and the spread of people who turned up, I’m sure there will be enough of a following to bring Frida back to British soil before too long.