Photo Credit: Douglas Dahlström
Still jet-lagged at the second stop of her In Holy Flux-tour, Natalie Mering – professionally known as Weyes Blood – certainly made Stockholm’s hearts aglow. Under the huge crystal crown inside of the big saloon at the sold-out, historical Berns Hotel & House of Entertainment in central Stockholm, Sweden, a crowd consisting of hipster kids, nerds, and adult misfits have gathered in order to get embraced by Natalie Mering’s treacherously beautiful hymns. She’s often accused of preaching to the crowd – but that’s exactly what we’re here for, listening to someone who’s not afraid of speaking out about all the terrible things we have to face in life – accompanied by some of the most gorgeous tunes you’ve ever heard.
After Lady Apple Tree completely stole the pre-set from Sam Burton’s acoustic set with a lovely rendition of the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Didn’t Want to Have to Do It,” as the duo took us away to the folksy days of 1965-or-so, Weyes Blood is letting us wait for her appearance. And wait. And wait… then, suddenly, after 30 minutes of waiting, she’s skipping out in a white nightgown to the tune of her last album’s lead single, “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody.” It’s only her second stop of her ‘In Holy Flux’ tour, and she’s still jet-lagged from her long journey over the Atlantic and across one-and-a-half continents, she explains. It comes off almost like an attempt to ease the expectations.
She never had to. Weyes Blood live sounds very similar to Weyes Blood in the studio. A bit too perfect, even? Maybe. Sure, she’s throwing out roses to the audience and premieres a music video directed by BBC documentarist Adam Curtis in the background, but musically, there are not many surprises. But rather no surprises than negative ones. As a vocalist, she’s incredibly gifted, and her studio-loyal performances confirm this. Not a tear remained dry after her heart-wrenching “God Turn Me into a Flower” from her latest album, And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow – arguably the greatest song she’s ever written.
As a performer, she’s confident, cool, and down-to-earth. She’s romanticizing about the paintings of old men on the walls, laughing about how she found a city store that sold “American delicatessen,” and asks the crowd whether anyone knows a haunted place in the town. Every time, the crowd is too caught in the moment to provide her with a great answer (And so am I. Guess my chance of partying with Natalie Mering is officially screwed).
After ending the set with the Carole King-esque “Everyday,” standing ovations force her to come back in to give us a final song. “It will be a sad one – ’cause that’s what we all are,” she says in a dark voice. For a moment, I’m hoping for a version of the stunning “Picture Me Better,” one of the few songs from her last two records that she hasn’t performed yet. It turns out to be the sleepy “A Given Thing,” one of my least favorite songs of hers. A disappointment? Never. The truth is, with a voice like hers, I could stay for hours listening to her performing any song.