Norwegian outfit Gold Celeste played a midweek gig at the Old Blue Last, Shoreditch, on a dank and dreary December night and by the time the clock struck midnight, had turned the venue on its head with their blissed out golden soulful psych indie sound.
Theirs is a musical peg that doesn’t fit easily into any standard holes. Rather, it flows across several borders into the various genres of psych, indie, soul, jazz, pop and even a bit of dream. Which is why their sound fits and sits so well with fans of all music religions.
Gold Celeste are job-sharing Simen Hallset and Eirik Fidjeland, who between them play bass, electric/acoustic guitar, keys and sing lead and backing vocals, along with self-taught dude drummer, Petter Haugen Andersen. For their live shows, they are joined by fellow Norwegian, multi-instrumentalist, Torstein Kvamme Holum, who also chips in with backing vocals and percussion.
Gold Celeste marked their London debut in blistering fashion, nearly blowing the roof off the venue and turning what had been a fairly muted crowd into a seething wolf whistling and screaming throng! Set opener, ‘Is This What You Could Not Do?’ with its chiming guitar riff giving more than a passing nod to Bow Bells made for an impressive crowd warmer, and was followed in quick succession by the wistful ‘The Dreamers’ and latest single, the golden delicious, ‘The Wonder of Love’ resplendent in its lustrous soul-drenched glory.
Single ‘Open Your Eyes’ really got the crowd buzzing and singing along, but that was nothing compared with what happened when the band launched into an unrecorded track called ‘NY AE’ the extended instrumental jam to which nearly stripped the paint off the walls with its searingly hot guitar sequences. Jeff Beck eat your heart out. If the four previous songs hadn’t made it evident that Gold Celeste are very talented musicians, then this blistering baby kind of screamed it out loud, like TURBO charged loud.
Eirik Fidjeland is also a member of indie-gaze band Dråpe whose sound is really quite different to that of Gold Celeste. So it was quite surprising but interesting nonetheless, to hear waves of the Dråpe guitar/percussion coming through on ‘NY AE’.
To steady everyone’s now totally shot nerves, the band took it back to ethereal with ‘But a Poem’, which featured Hollum on backing vocals. They followed on with ’The Start of Something Beautiful’ the final track from debut album ‘The Glow’, and judging by all the reviews I’ve read, most definitely the critic’s favourite! Plenty of reverbed riffs and analogue kissed swirling synths, with dreamy vocals, washed over pretty cool Elvin Jones JCQ style drumming, marking this out as one of the strongest numbers of the night.
Gold Celeste closed the set with ‘Grand New Spin’ and a blistering cover of Radiohead’s ‘Weird Fishes’ which had the same adrenalin inducing effect on the crowd as a shower of smarties on a nursery full of toddlers. The gig was a rush and the crowd was on a high. Cue incessant chanting for more to which Gold Celeste happily ceded a cracking rendition of ‘Starchild’.
Gold Celeste’s London debut was a storming success. They have returned to Oslo to enjoy Christmas and make more new music, which they will hopefully bring back not just to London, but to many more cities in the UK&I in 2016.
For now we’ll make do with ‘The Glow’ and this beautiful video (shot be Benedikte Olsen) for ‘The Wonder of Love’.