EMA @ Cargo 14th September 2010

EMA is actually lead singer Erika Anderson’s initials. Erika is a South Dakota native and used to be 1 half of Gowns. Anderson is currently signed to Souterrain Transmissions which has also brought you the likes of Zola Jesus and CocoRosie. Now EMA is not just one person it is a band consisting of Erika and three other people. The style of music was Pop/ Grunge and I really loved the songs sung. This ten song mainly comprimised with songs from the current EP Past Life Martyred Saints. There was also a non album track and a cover song added into the mix. By the time Erika took to the stage the venue was rammed packed. The set opened up with Marked. This song was both mellow and soft. Anderson’s vocals are unbearably hoarse and strained, you can feel her fragility and desperation, as she sings, “I wish that every time he touched me left a mark”. “What’s up London, How you doing? It’s good to be here which is something for me to say” Anderson said to the audience before launching into the epic song The Grey Ship. This was the debut single,  described as “a nod to the Viking funeral ships of her ancestors”. This song began very mellow and soft, then gradually built up to something more intense during the second part of the song. Following on was Breakfast which started of quiet but became stronger towards the end. The bands latest single Milkman was the next on the night which was delivered powerfully from start to finish. “I’m getting my carrot” Erika said before returning to the stage (with carrot) for Add It Up. This Violent Femmes’ cover was an ode to sexual frustration. It was a real crowd pleaser and had a fast tempo at the same time. Add It Up oozed energy and was delivered to perfection. “Thankgod you guys f**king know that one” Erika said after the rapturous applause. It was then onto Butterfly Knife. This heavy song oozed darkness as lyrically it dealt with self-mutilation. After the band left leaving just Erika onstage to deliver non album track Hey, Can I Stay? a capella. Vocally this song was spot on and spine tingling. Anderson’s vocals were beautiful. After the applause the other three members took to the stage. Next on the night was Anteroom. This song oozed energy. “It’s wonderful to come so far and receive a warm welcome” Erika said to the audience before the penultimate song on the night Red Star. The night ended with the song everyone expected. “I iust wanna say thanks so much you guys for coming out, f**king awesome, it was so much fun, I feel blessed” Anderson went onto say before delivering the energetic California. This was a dark song and it felt as if Erika was restrained. For starters the cable to the microphone was tangled up. I am guessing if she could Erika would of come into the crowd. But instead she stood on the amps. California was delivered to perfection and you could feel the energy oozing from this performance. The band then exit the stage only to return as there was a rapturous applause. “Should I have waited longer to add to the mystery?” Erika said before mentioning she had never done a encore before. The extraordinary night ended with a Gowns song White Like Heaven. Now Anderson was the lead single of Folk band Gowns until they disbanded January 2010. Still this song was spell binding and it was a real treat to hear this lovely song live.

SET LIST

Marked
The Grey Ship
Breakfast
Milkman
Add It Up
Butterfly Knife
Hey, Can I Stay?
Anteroom
Red Star
California

ENCORE

White Like Heaven

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