Erlend Oye (Esplanade, 15 March 2006)

Erlend Oye was playing interesting stuff when we arrived at the Mosaic Club, but many people weren’t dancing. I have a feeling the vast majority of his audience were Erlend Oye fans rather than house music fans so perhaps that’s why they weren’t really in the groove but honestly, at some points I felt like yelling “DUDES, ERLEND WANTS YOU TO DANCE, NOT STAND THERE STOCK STILL GAWKING AT HIM!” After all, as he demonstrated several times himself, no one needed to actually dance dance, just jumping around happily would have been fine too.

On the whole he played about one and a quarter hours’ worth of music I found interesting (including remixes of Kings of Convenience songs which I generally much prefer to the originals), and forty-five minutes of boring indie/pop standards eg. The Cure’s Close To Me, Springsteen’s Dancing In The Dark. I found these fairly dull.

What I did find enjoyable and endearing was his personality. He interacted pleasantly with the crowd, and dealt extremely well with technical problems that twice brought his set to a complete halt – the second time, as a Kings of Convenience remix suddenly just stopped playing, he continued singing the vocal a capella while looking for a new song, finally substituting “I think I found a good song” for the lyrics he was singing. Quite charming.

Ultimately though, this gig wouldn’t have been worth $30 and missing the America’s Next Top Model finale for me if not for one moment right at the end.

He announced the last song, put it on, and came down to the dancefloor, a ring of ecstatic fans forming around him almost instantly. Although originally in this ring by sheer coincidence of location, I stepped out of it, figuring that it would be nicer to make room for people who were bigger fans than I – essentially, almost everyone else in the room.

At this point I spotted Dominique trying to physically drag a struggling, protesting Han (huge Erlend fan) in his direction. Being no stranger to the paralysis of extreme starry-eyed admiration I bounded up to assist, knowing that friends who refuse to let you wuss out are necessary in such situations. (Lifelong mortification is still better than lifelong regret.) Unfortunately, Han was putting up quite a fight and after a while I decided it probably wasn’t best for her first meeting with Erlend to involve being hurled at him like a human cannonball.

So I took another tack. Given that I only get star-struck by people I actually admire, I had absolutely no qualms about approaching him myself. I danced into his little bit of Erlend ring-space, yelled that I had a friend who loved him but was too shy to say hello, and pointed at Han. Upon which he plucked her from Dom’s arms, wrapped her in his, and started dancing with her.

That was when it finally felt worthwhile. And if you don’t understand why, you’ve never been a teenage girl.