Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review: Irya's Playground Sunday 7 March

We had Irya in the studio last week to talk about their show and their support of the Circus Performance 'Inside Out'. Swedish act, Irya's Playground are on record agreat act. On stage, though, they were a little wooden.

Lead singer Irya Gmeyner's act whilst aloof from the audience just somehow failed to really engage me. However, I got the feeling some of this was the venue itself, and Irya confirmed that with me post-gig. Rock bands find it hard to interact when the audience are sitting and this was the case for them, too.

They rattled through a number of album songs and a few newbies, mostly from the "Inside Out' show, minus the costume. Whilst all skillfully played, they just lacked some 'spark' ,something to really grab you.

Expections were "My Angel" and "Room 54" which are the two main singles from their self titled debut - Rare moments of brillance, soring above their other works.
in a contrived attempt to liven the show up Irya (pronounce 'Erry Ya') dropped in little dubious annecdotes about the band members, such as meeting drummer Eric Nilssen at a party dressed as a transvestite. But even a story of a previous boyfriend who'd turned a bank robber somehow didn't really work. Not a cringe as such - just flat Annoying interventions from Pange Oberg, Irya's partner and co-writer seemed to undermine her stage presense and frustrate her no end. But far from a stage tension, there was just blandness.

That said I was highly impressed by guitarist Jon Bergstrom's guitars (at least i think it was Jon, my mistake if not), touted as the band's 'neighbour' who they'd hijacked at the last minute to go on tour.

Overall I guess this show, heavily promoted during the "Inside Out" gigs and patronised mostly by the cast of that show, so in that sense they had a good following.

They did garner an encore and played the Church's "Under the Milky Way" - a pretty good performance.

If I sound like I'k flip flopping here it's because the show had all the potential to be great but just did't come in as expected. Sad really.

Perhaps I'm in the minority here:

"The quintet of musicians, Irya's Playground ("Sweden's alternative rock darlings"), have a great thing going and all the songs, by remarkable vocalist Irya Gmeyner, are as impressive as her OTT glamorous dress-ups."

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