Eva, Manu & the Invisible Trumpet

First Aid Kit wasn’t the only duo to brighten this Ilosaarirock Sunday with beautiful harmonies or play a Fleet Foxes cover. Eva Louhivuori and Manu “Mauno” Laudic, together with their backing crew, treated the sizeable crowd gathered at the Rekka Stage to a good-humored recital of songs from their upcoming debut album due for release on August 17.

There was a light drizzle going on before the gig, but the weather had enough sense to stop acting up once the show started. Indeed, the weather seemed to react to the music and cleared up more and more as the feeling in the crowd grew warmer. As a delightfully calm rendition of Feet in the Water drew to a close, the sun finally popped in to say hello and received praise from both Eva and the audience.

While the bright voices of the Söderberg sisters of First Aid Kit blend together to create a singular resonant effect, the voices of Eva and Manu complement each other more by balanced contrast. Manu sings with a deeper, discreetly nuanced tone and Eva embellishes the sound with resolved elegance. The runs that she can do are incredible and every little decorative touch is delivered with finesse only available to well-educated professionals. Together these two distinct voices sound rich, deep, and full of feeling. Manu got to show off his style when the band played a terrific cover of The Black Keys’s Lonely Boy and Eva was particularly radiant on Hold On, a song she told us was written on a mountain top in Tuscany.

There was one thing Eva did that took me, and I’m sure most of the audience, completely by surprise: in addition to all else, she can also mimic a trumpet(!) and pulled off a solo as the crowd cheered her on. Wow!

A two-man rhythm section consisting of bass player Ville Kyttälä and a solid drummer whose name I failed to catch (my apologies, Mr Drummer!) provided a sturdy backbone for Eva’s keyboards, Manu’s acoustic guitar and Nicolas “Leissi” Rehn’s electric guitar/harmonica. Leissi’s dreadlocks and seemingly permanent grin are becoming a most welcome staple at Ilosaarirock, for I saw him here last year as well, then bringing it with Yona & Liikkuvat Pilvet.

The band clearly enjoyed playing their set and the audience liked what they heard. There was an intimate and friendly atmosphere at the Rekka Stage with relaxed on-stage banter and smiles, swaying, and lots of clapping across the board.

The backing crew left the duo alone on stage for I’ve Had Enough, the set’s final song, despite a protest by one of Leissi’s fans who threatened to leave if the virtuoso didn’t get back on stage. He didn’t come back, and the guy didn’t leave. I believe I know exactly why he didn’t leave, and if you were there, I think you know too. Remember August 17! Hyvää kesää!

Text: Jyrki Laitinen

Aihe(et): In English.