One of the most enjoyable (and rare) things about attending concerts is discovering a great new act performing before the headliner. Jimi Hendrix opened for the Monkees. I saw The Mothers of Invention with some guy/girl named Alice Cooper opening. To see Maceo Parker (Maceo! Come blow your horn!) open for (and play with) Ani DiFranco was a genre-bending delight. Usually, the opening act is forgettable, or sometimes even atrocious. In 2005 I attended a Sigur Rós concert. Takk had just been released, and the opening act was a quartet with the name Amína. Wow. I was ready for the sturm und drang of the headliner, but was completely taken by surprise by the opening act:
Photo by Egill Kalevi Karlsson
Amiina, as their name is now spelled, was a delight. Everything that most modern music is- serious, dull, overblown and tired- they were the opposite of. When they came back on stage and played with Sigur Rós for most of their set, it was stunning.
Tonight (Thursday) Amiina is back in Minnesota, they are the headliners. Instead of a huge (2000 seat) theater, they will be in a much more intimate space. With a new album just out, this should prove to be a very entertaining evening. Opportunities such as this are rare- think about these things: how many women's musical groups exist? How many write all their own material? How many have created their own musical style? How many combine classical instruments with modern technologies? How many are Icelandic?
OK, Björk has done that, but she's one person (and I can't wait to hear her new album as well) but she has integrated dozens of world-class musicians into her creations. Amiina are four friends from college, who write/improvise fun, challenging and musical pieces. If their performance tonight is anything like what I saw a year and a half ago, I'll be in heaven.