Headlining at The Camden Assembly you had the wonderful Norwegian Astrid Smeplass or Astrid S. Born in Berkåk, Norway, Astrid made a name for herself way back in 2013 after she competed in the Norwegian version of Pop Idol. This sensational show was a complete sell out and it comes as no surprise considering she supported Troye Sivan earlier on this year. So I arrived at the venue around 4.45pm only to be greeted by a line of 15 fans queuing to get inside. The people at the front had been in line since 2pm which is incredibly impressive.
After having been warmed up by Amanda Delara’s short but sweet 4 song set it was then onto the main act. It was around 9.10pm when Astrid S graced the stage. The wondrous set consisted of 11 tunes both new and old. Well it was Hyde which kickstarted this whimsical showcase. The moment she took to the stage everyone held up signs which said “London is proud of you”. Anyways this was a slick jam drenched in plenty of synth pop goodness. Astrid actually wrote this after reading the story about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Anyhow Hyde left me it a trance, Smeplass’s vocals were sugary sweet and the lyrics were so contagious. My favourite part had to be the spoken 2nd verse. “How are you guys” Astrid S said before going straight into the delectable Jump. Having appeared on the self titled EP this tune is incredibly infectious and the whole performance was sensational. Jump was a sparkly tune oozing plenty of power pop vibes which left me completely hooked. This was a work of art aided by an impeccable sweet vocal delivery, outstanding lyrics and a whimsical melody. “This is honestly not what I expected at all. Thank you so much for coming. I’m just really excited to play my music to you and some new music” Astrid mentioned to the packed audience before embarking onto something brand new and this being Naked. I must say this tune left me in a complete trance. Astrid’s vocals were candy coated and those succulent lyrics were rather sultry “I like me better when I’m Naked”. Now this synth tune packed a punch and offered an insight of what to expect from the debut album. It was then time for I Don’t Wanna Know. This song has to be my favourite because it’s an extremely beautiful/ tender ballad. “The minute you laid your head to rest/ You start to feel it in your chest/ You’re having second thoughts/ You just wanna talk/ But I’m doing everything I can just to get over you/ So when you clear your throat and reach out for your phone/ Think I know exactly what you wanna say but don’t/ Coz I don’t wanna know”. When I hear songs for the first time I mainly focus on the melody and the melody for this was rather dreamy. I Don’t Wanna Know is a beautiful sounding song but it’s heartbreaking at the same time. This whimsical tune details a couple who break up, the guy has moved on but the girl still harbours feelings despite trying her hardest to get over him.
Bleed was the next number and this being another shimmering new cut. I fell for Bleed hook, line and sinker. This tune is a luscious synth pop song which had been written to perfection. The verses were vibrant and the chorus was extremely light/ dreamy “So please/ Can’t you see the scar that it’s healing/ You have to leave it”. The refreshing Bleed most definitely had me moving on the spot. After plenty of applause it was then onto the sassy 2AM and this was Astrid’s first ever single. I really liked the delectable lyrics especially the chorus which packed a punch“Two in the morning, I can’t control it/ Lost in the moment, I just can’t get no sleep, eh/ Two in the morning, everything’s frozen/ I keep on falling and I just can’t get no sleep”. Plenty of people sang along and it is no surprise because this was one infectious jam. It went down a treat and was a pleasing song which again had me moving. Straight after it was time for the fresh and funky Running Out. This was a Matoma tune which Smeplass featured on. Now Matoma is a Norwegian DJ similar to the likes of Calvin Harris. Anyhow this tune was both beautiful and tender with lyrics which left me hooked. As the song progressed the electronic beats came in, which transformed this into an upbeat jam. Everything about this was spectacular, bundles of energy flowed from Astrid’s vocals along with compelling lyrics. Say It was up next and this being a cover of Flume Ft Tove Lo. This literally knocked me for six, Astrid S started this tune as an acapella then the wondrous synths came in creating something upbeat. Smeplass’s take on this tune was incredibly smooth leaving me entranced in the process. The last new song of the evening came in the form of Party’s Over. This oozes plenty of promise and it has been well crafted. Those lyrics were incredibly soothing and Astrid’s vocals were pure perfection. The final number of the evening came in the form of Hurts So Good. I must say this is a right belter. Now this was a beautiful electro pop song which had vibrant verses as well as that contagious chorus “When it hurts/ But it Hurts So Good/ Do you take it/ Do you break it off/ When it hurts/ But it Hurts So Good/ Can you save it/ Can you save it/ Your love is like/ Your love is like/ You look so good/ Your love is live”. Hurts So Good was a charming track which had been perfectly written. Straight after it was then onto the encore this being Atic. It started off with Smeplass smashing the cymbals with a drumstick. “I know where you run, I know you run, run too/ Let me be the one/ Let me be the one/ Show you how it’s done/ Crash into the sun “. This was a phenomenal number which had plenty of energy flowing from the performance. Astrid literally delivered this epic tune with plenty of gusto and it ended what had been an outstanding evening.
I Don’t Wanna Know
Hurts So Good
OVERALL: This was truly one outstanding evening showcasing two extraordinary artists. Amanda was incredible and I could listen to her over and over again. The set may have been short but I was left with the urge to hear more. Next time she’s in London I’ll be there. Paper Paper was literally phenomenal live.
Regarding Astrid S, she is an impeccable talent who is set to blossom next year She most definitely has gained a larger crowd after supporting Troye Sivan earlier on in the year. Smeplass’s own brand of synth pop makes me anticipate when the debut album is released. Songs such as Naked, Party’s Over and Bleed each had me hooked leaving me with the desire to hear more originals. Also it was a delight to witness tracks from the Astrid S EP, whilst Hurts So Good is incredible it is I Don’t Wanna Know which will always be a firm favourite of mine.
Finally Universal have got themselves a right keeper in Astrid S. I foresee a bright future ahead of her.