Glory, glory, Kings of Convenience!

Also guest blogging at Backseat Radio: The story of two kings, conveniently.

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Event: Kings of Convenience live in concert
Date: March 21, 2010 (Sunday)
Venue: Bentley Music Auditorium, Wisma Bentley Music

Sunday afternoon’s torrents of rain slowly came to mere drizzles. All over the country, thousands of football fans flocked to their nearest mamak stalls to watch the live match, emanating bouts of cheers heard throughout the neighbourhood with every hit and miss.

Whereas, a minority of some 1,000 fans travelled from all over Klang Valley – perhaps even the country – to an unusual concert venue just to see two Kings who came all the way from Norway. People with bobbed haircuts and oversized horn-rimmed glasses and too short hems of jeans, speaking fluent Cantonese with their similarly styled friends, as they sauntered into the venue. Not to be stereotypical, but I did not realise Kings of Convenience would actually attract a sold out crowd, let alone those who would prefer not to converse in English.

Security was strict that night, especially when it comes to cameras. Later, we found out that it was the Kings’ special order to tone down on the photo-snapping, even though they were flash-less. Something to do with the tiny clicks the cameras make. Erlend Øye asked fans to not take pictures in the first 30 minutes, but thereafter, it was up to our fancies, with the double-edged undertone of “that is, if you don’t mind bothering the people next to you.”

But, being Malaysians, cameras were still sneaked into the venue right under the bulky security’s nose. Some were iffy at first, whether or not to lift up their cameras after Erlend’s request. But eventually, the snappers let loose, Blackberry units with red blinking lights recording song after song – like little assassins, as if waiting for the right moment to strike the Kings down.

As jesters of the evening to entertain the crowd before the Kings took the stage – Tenderfist, a local synth pop group, which I am quite happy to say, sounds pretty close to The Postal Service. Why the world said Owl City ripped The Postal Service off, was beyond me, especially seeing that it is doubtful Adam Young even know who they are. But after hearing Tenderfist for the night, I am glad that at least someone – not to mention, someone from Malaysia – is doing things the right way. Ben Gibbard would be proud.

They were unlike any Kings in the world. Humble and modest, so much so that they opened their show with My Ship Isn’t Pretty – nothing too upbeat, just something as simple as the plucking of the acoustics to ease us in.

Erlend Øye kept the crowd close to his heart, pleasing us quite easily whenever he struck a few dorky dance moves ala Napoleon Dynamite in Sing Softly to Me, or doing his amazing trumpet imitation in Second to Numb, or got us snapping our fingers away and singing in a choir in Little Kids.

Eirik Glambek Bøe was less mobile as he had his own words to pay attention to. But he kept the crowd on little laughing frenzies speaking in Bergensk (I think), then blaming the sound system for speaking in such a foreign language to us.

Small jokes aside, Eirik kept us close to his heart too, serenading us with songs mostly from Declaration of Dependence, such as Me in You, Mrs Cold, Rule My World, and Boat Behind – which got the crowd singing along: “Oh woah woah woah woah / I could never belong to you / Oh woah woah woah woah / I could never belong to you.”

Also, not forgetting beloved ones from their earlier albums – I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From, Homesick (which quickly became a favourite for me), Gold in the Air of Summer, and of course, I’d Rather Dance with You, which they had Tenderfist up on stage again during the encore to play with them.

And what is a song about dancing with someone without actually, well, dancing with someone? Handpicked by Erland himself, a lucky fan got to go on stage to struck some Napoleon moves with him, and share his microphone singing, “I’d rather dance, I’d rather dance than talk with you / I’d rather dance, I’d rather dance than talk with you.”

Here is a video of it:

Personally, I thought that other song Kings of Convenience did with Tenderfist was better. I loved it when they got the crowd clapping along to Tenderfist’s synth pop beats and Erland pulling it in with his trumpet imitation and the lights in a colourful array projecting off the ceiling.

I loved that moment.

We had close encounters with the Kings after their gig. While we were smoking outside, a security guard escorted a timid-looking Eirik past the awe-struck crowd towards the loo, and then after that, Erland.

They were merely a breath away from me.

I guess this is what it feels like to be with someone of ‘royalty’ status – you just get starstruck and stand frozen in place, not sure whether to quickly whip out your camera, or open your mouth to say something – anything – and risk sounding like an idiot. I suppose days of mobbing fans were over too; security had only to whisper a quiet ‘excuse me’ to get through the crowd. No holding people’s hands were necessary, either.

It was a pleasure to be in the same presence with such Kingly figures, especially in a venue like Bentley Music Auditorium – spacious enough to house a lot of fans, but not too much that it loses its intimacy of such fragile bands. Well done, Junk and Soundscape Records. And of course, Tenderfist and Kings of Convenience themselves.

* Thanks Reta for helping to smuggle in the camera and take photographs during the concert.

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One Response to “Glory, glory, Kings of Convenience!”

  1. rinella Says:

    oh myyyy, i can’t wait to see them tomorrow
    haha congrats to your success in smuggling the camera
    i’m thinking about smuggling my camera too, but I don’t know let’s see tomorrow..
    i’m sooo excited.
    hail to The Kings!

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