REVIEW gig Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha


EMA’s edgy charisma can be difficult to look at directly

EMA live

EMA - The Garage - Live - 3 June 2014

On a warm Spring night in Islington, North London, South Dakota’s Erika M. Anderson played a set that alternately smouldered and sparked with fiery and unpredictable intensity.  Sporting sunglasses (at least, initially) an aggressive side parting, and something of a devil-may-care attitude, EMA’s set covered much of the extensive ground covered by 2011’s “Past Life Martyred Saints” and this year’s “The Future's Void”. 
EMA’s vaunted DIY ethos was writ large with a direct, scratchy and heartfelt performance from EMA and band – “who wants to sound perfect anyway?”, asked Erika.  Even the minor glitches might have been scripted.
The excellent “Future’s Void..” album was firmly on centre-stage, with the set opening with “Satellites” and the grungy “So Blonde” (“…so lemme tell you 'bout this girl I know – she’s so blonde – her pills are shakin’ in her bag…”).  Not to mention the many others – including the beautiful “3Jane” (“when everybody’s lookin – it’s supposed to be a dream – but disassociation – I  guess it’s just a modern disease”) and the faux-anthemic denouement, “Dead Celebrity” (“…tell me what you wanna see – when you click on the link – of the dead celebrity”).  The set also included a punchy Bikini Kill cover, if this correspondent correctly recalls.  Good stuff.  This correspondent’s only real regret was that EMA’s set did not feature the magnificent “Breakfast” from “Past Life..”.  But with a catalogue as strong and varied as EMA’s already is, you’re never going to hear them all.  So we will keep our greedy eyes peeled for Erika’s return, following the current US tour.
8/10 Photo credit: Anni Timms
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