Vök / The Deaf Institute, Manchester | 21st of March

Vök / The Deaf Institute, Manchester | 21st of March

Award-winning Icelandic four-piece Vök took to the stage at The Deaf Institute in Manchester on March 21st with support from the London-based solo-artist Tusks. Hailing from Hafnarfjörður (about 10 miles south west of Reykjavík) Vök formed in 2013 and have since released two EP’s and one album. Currently enduring a headline UK tour, the dream-pop purveyors had to a lot to prove in Manchester but they certainly didn’t let anybody down as their music set the venue alive.

Vök weren’t the only ones who had something to prove on Wednesday night as newcomer Emily Underhill (stage name Tusks) graced the stage with her elegant but haunting seven song set. The audience fell silent as multi-instrumentalist Tusks gently eased into her set, from the melancholic to the upbeat her set had it all. Playing material from her self-produced debut album Dissolve, Tusks’ poetical lyrics combined with her effortlessly finger-picked guitar gave the audience something to remember. Tusks’ music has the ability to turn a cold room warm, her dominant and impressive vocals set the atmosphere perfectly as the audience gazed in awe and could only be excited for what was to come.

As the audience patiently waited under the famous disco ball for Vök, there was a feeling of anticipation lingering throughout the venue. While the audience chatted on the dance floor we were suddenly greeted with a loud ringing siren, the gig was about to start. Vök’s emphatic grand entrance instantaneously brought the entire room to life and filled the spectators with high hopes for the night. Without any introduction the band commenced with fan favourite Breaking Bones, smartly dressed lead-singer Margrét Rán Magnúsdóttir got into the groove of things with her almost robotic dance moves and powerful singing voice. As the set progressed Vök’s music made me feel like I was the only person in the room, their mesmerising light-show joined with their fluent set transitions got the whole room dancing to the beat.

Much can be said about Vök but the thing that really caught my eye is their brilliant saxophonist Andri Már Enoksson. His ability to dazzle audiences with his smooth and enthusiastic sax playing is obviously a prominent and popular part of Vök’s live set. The twelve-song set-list that featured songs sung both in English and Icelandic harboured many crowd-pleasers such as waiting and waterfall. A near full venue applauded and cheered the band between each song but always simmered down when a new song began. Margrét Rán Magnúsdóttir’s stage presence oozed confidence, so much so that the audience were completely fixated on her superbly choreographed dance moves. It’s almost like she became one with the music.

When I think of music from Iceland, Björk and Sigur Rós automatically spring to mind but Vök offer something else, something different and more modern. Overall, Vök is a band made up of four incredibly talented multi-instrumentalists who each bring their own unique attributes to the band. Throughout the gig they managed to keep the audience engaged and wanting more, at the end of the gig chants for an encore were being emitted around the venue. Undoubtedly the fans enjoyed this dream-pop extravaganza.  To me it feels like Vök are ahead of their time, their music is futuristic and has a distinctive sound. It’s plain to see that Vök are destined for great things.

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