LIVE REVIEW: Vök / ROCH, The Lexington, 21/3/16

It’s not often you get two storming new acts for the price of one, but The Lexington certainly put together quite a bill for a Monday evening.

We’ve covered ROCH‘s studio work before, but approaching the stage the rather unassuming twentysomething belied the power that rest in her lungs. But it’s used sparingly, almost like Daughter, on the nocturnal electronic pop sounds of songs like Kintsugi. It also takes quite a confident performer to pause a song midway, staring into the audience with such intensity that you think she’s actually mad at the sound tech and wants to stop the gig. That discomfort is part of the reason we’re utterly transfixed, before ROCH springs back into life and continues a set that ends with the magnificent Closer.

Then we step aside for Icelandic band Vök, who admittedly we have some reservations about. Theirs is, after all, a glacial electronic pop sound that we’ve seen so many try before, and so many fall flat with utter lifelessness on a live stage. Not the case with this lot, and that’s due to many a factor.

To begin with, their chemistry is unmistakable. From the joyful interplay between songs to the way each member of the band loses themselves to their own beat, theirs is the sort of crackling connection that makes you want to get on stage to join the party. They’re also one-up on many counterparts with the presence of a live sax – not just that, but the way it’s performed and handled with sheer rock star quality makes songs like Tension bounce out with a kineticism that smacks you with an unending smile.

And of course, there’s lead singer Margrét’s incredible vocal performance. Not so much on the acrobatics front – it all pretty much stays on one octave – but the amount of charisma and breathy menace she can bring is quite a sight to behold (that, and the androgynous top-knot warrior pounding her chest to every other song). It’s in her hands that Waiting and Waterfall simply shine on stage tonight, the final date on an extensive tour. A shame, really – if they had more dates we’d urge you to catch them at the earliest.

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Vök / ROCH, The Lexington, 21/3/16
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