Astrid S at Brighton Music Hall
September 24, 2017 | By Xandie Kuenning
Norwegian artist Astrid S, born Astrid Smeplass, performed at the Brighton Music Hall Sept. 14 as a part of her 2017 North American tour, “The Party’s Over”. The first US stop on her tour, following a Canadian debut, the Boston concert celebrated young female artists and their stories.
Photo by Xandie Kuenning
English singer-songwriter Jasmine Thompson, who rose to fame performing covers on YouTube, opened the show. During her set, the 16-year-old mixed songs from her new EP “Wonderland,” such as “Drama” with some of her favourite covers, including“Shape of You.” A particularly poignant moment was when she dedicated her cover of “You Are My Sunshine” to her mom.
The highlight of her performance, however, was a song written a couple of months ago, after she returned from a stint living in Los Angeles.
“I love LA, but there are a lot of pretty people,” Thompson said. “I really liked this person while I was in LA and felt like any single girl who came up to him could take him away.”
Thompson came home really hating herself and took that experience to create “Girl,” not yet released, which describes the perfect Californian girl who gets the man that the singer cannot possibly compete with.
She finished her set with the song “Old Friends,” a fitting choice that cemented the feelings of melancholy that came upon the realization her time on stage was ending.
After a short interval, a red light spread across the stage and the headliner appeared to the joy of screaming fans. Astrid S began her set with a bang, heading straight into her hit “Bloodstream.” It was a perfect way to wake up the crowd and get them ready for a night of dancing.
On the next choice of song, however, Astrid made a misstep. A song on her new album, “Jump” tells the story of someone contemplating suicide. With lyrics like, “And I know it will hurt hitting ground but I don’t think that I’d mind the falling,” combined with a more sorrowful beat it is one of her more serious tracks. During the show, it became another pop-hit, and the meaning of the words got lost in the pressure to dance and jump at the right moments. While the audience enjoyed the impetus to dance, Astrid missed the opportunity for a slower song with a message that is relevant and meaningful to a lot of people.
After a few more hits, Astrid took a break to talk about how surreal it felt to be performing in Boston.
“I remember when I was thirteen and I went to a Lady Gaga concert and I knew all the songs and I thought how cool it must be to be on stage and now here I am,” she said.
She then introduced one of her top tracks, “Such a Boy,” inspired by the portrayal of girls in relationships as unstable and dramatic and the phrase “don’t be such a girl.” As a child, Astrid admitted to being confused when people would say this, because, as she said before the song, “a girl is the best thing to me.” In her song, the roles are switched with the lyrics portraying a highly dramatic boy in a relationship.
Throughout her set, Astrid kept the audience on their toes, waiting for the beat to drop. She spent the night singing and dancing wildly on stage, and her enthusiasm spread through the crowd. She even interacted with her band members, Eivind Helgerød on drums and Syver Storskogen on keyboard, taking a drumstick and playing the cymbals during the second to last track “Mexico.”
Astrid chose to end her set with the fitting choice of “Party’s Over.” With a Norwegian flag in her hand, after an audience member tossed it up to her, Astrid bounced around with the same high energy as she had in the beginning.
After her performance, Astrid left the stage only to reappear less than a minute later to perform the encore. She chose both top radio hits, “Breathe,” and the more acoustic, slower piece, “Paper Thin.” She finished on a high with “Hurts So Good,” encouraging the audience to sing along and immerse themselves in the experience.