TVD Live: Oh Land at
the Black Cat, 12/9

Friday night, the Black Cat’s young, stylish, and SOLD OUT crowd eagerly awaited the appearance of everyone’s (recent) favorite Dane, Oh Land.

She emerged on stage through her signature bunch of white balloons, each balloon reflecting (or digitally projecting) her face as an eerie, but surreal backdrop to her bouncing figure. The intro to “Perfection” played as she scatted briefly before moving into the lyrics. The breezy longing radiated through her voice and brought each of us to attention as she towered above us.

“Hello Washington!” she greeted us, “Why haven’t I been here sooner?” Though, I would assume she meant the venue and not the city we were presently in, as she has performed in DC before, though this was her first time headlining, and it was certainly overdue.

Her self-titled sophomore album has swept across the globe (or at least Europe and the U.S.) this year to open, waving arms. “It’s a full moon tonight! I feel crazy!” she shouted as each waving arm shot up for the first single of the evening, “Sun of a Gun.” The movement was as usual mostly squished to the front of the audience, as those who preferred to admire the nymph on stage from afar stayed towards the back—this made it seem undersold until I made my way up front.

As Oh Land shimmied on stage, her bright fringed dress became a blur. Even during her slower songs, she remained delightfully upbeat. She howled and drummed into “Wolf & I,” grinning to catch her breath. The audience echoed her call as the bass line dropped, much heavier and elaborate than on the album.

When someone from the audience shouted their request for “Rainbow,” she quickly retorted, “No! I’m never gonna play that!” Instead she moved into another more elaborate rendition of “Lean,” to which many people did in fact lean, perhaps too close together for the comfort of those around them. Grinding, yes the dance for those who can’t dance, the ever popular move for homecoming attendees across the country, that proved to be the move of choice during the slower parts of her set. Never mind that we were in a venue known for a punk aesthetic, but simulating sex to songs about the forlorn—well, it was bizarre.

She did visit her debut album Fauna in “Audition Day” and “Heavy Eyes,” among few others, though overall she deviated from her sophomore album’s track listing very little.

“I’m gonna play it, even though it’s a love song, and love songs, they can be vulnerable,” she said before playing the previously shunned “Rainbow.” She drew it out and led a quiet repetition of the chorus, “you can make it click, making me pop,” while the audience snapped in unison.

This was followed by a cover of The National’s “Bloodbuzz Ohio.” “This is special for us, this is our first time playing it (publicly). I wish I had written it, so pretend with me.” We pretended.

She brought the mood back up with the odd “Twist” written for the “bad movie” Abduction.

“Now this song is about stealing a unicorn’s horn and putting it on your own head. It’s about beliefs, being stupid and the surreal, it’s called ‘White Nights.’” The frenzied fans jumped and squealed throughout, dissatisfied as she left the stage, but continued as she came back for an encore.

A boy up front claimed to be her biggest fan, and she pulled him onstage and serenaded him with the unexpected, “Frostbite,” from her debut. When she’s done, he returns to the audience, and she breaks into “We Turn It Up.” Our relentlessly upbeat host bounced throughout the chorus and we followed suit.

Set List:

Break The Chain
Sun of a Gun
Wolf & I
Audition Day
Heavy Eyes
Bloodbuzz Ohio
White Nights

We Turn It Up

Photos by Alison Tremblay

Opener: Savoir Adore

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