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Culture Reviews
A Bit of Swedish Soul in Moscow
By Alana Marcu
While atmosphere and ambiance are always crucial factors for the success of any art performance, they simply set the stage for what the audience has actually come to see. In this case, it was Swedish sensation "Hird" who traveled to Club Zapasnik, Friday, December 17, for his Moscow debut.

The setting was perfect. A low-key, somewhat hidden, off the main road Moscow night club in Kitai-Gorod. A small venue. A young Russian crowd. Everyone eagerly waiting and enjoying the usual after hour amenities of cigarettes and alcohol. A dimly lit room. Strands of sparkling Christmas lights hung across mantle-type bookshelves which housed countless rows of plastered head sculptures piled haphazardly on-top of one another. And an equally fitting, cozy stage made way for cool Swedish trio "Hird" to play their melancholy, electro, lounge-type, easy listening tunes and beats, but...

That's just it, but... Something was a bit off. Like a teacher with no lesson plan in front of a roomful of expecting foreign students, pencils ready, eager to learn, Hird seemed a bit unprepared for the youthful, energetic, always ready to let loose and dance to fast paced tech-no music Moscow crowd.

Don't get me wrong, it's not as if Hird was booed off stage, pelted with tomatoes, and sent packing back to their hometown of Gothenberg, by a bunch of rowdy teenage Muscovites upon their first note. Technically, everything was ready. All the ingredients were laid out. There were no glitches in sound, no confusion, in song order, nothing of that sort. It was just that things had a bit of a slow start as Christoffer "Hird" Berg encouraged the audience to dance when they were still skeptical and not ready which gave way to a "normalny" middle as the beer began to kick in and people made their way to the floor to sway to the dreamy tunes, and smooth exotic voice of Yukimi Nagano, which after a little over an hour made for an anticlimactic end where people were dancing but far from "going crazy" as Berg kept insisting. It seems as if "going crazy" to such relaxed, sweet melodies was somewhat of an oxymoron at that point. Or maybe Swedes just have a different definition of "going crazy." The question on my mind was, "Where's the khalinka in this place?"

In true Russian fashion, the 21-yr. old charismatic, baby-faced Hird was truly embraced and appreciated for coming to Moscow to share his personal work which has already been making a splash across Nordic countries and Japan, however, it may still a bit too green and lacking in versatility in such a fast-paced, still molding city. Perhaps a clear indicator of this came as Hird went back on stage for their encore performance announcing, "Now, we're going to play 'I Love You My Hope' again and I want everyone to really go crazy and dance this time."

As Hird said in referring to his music, "I don't like to define myself or my music as an artist...It would be a mistake to because then I wouldn't be open...this is why I keep changing." There is no doubt this Swede will be back for another round in Moscow to perform his already original, nostalgic tunes...hopefully, there will just be more of them.

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