Quirks and Kicks – The Iiris Experience


Iiris took to the YleX stage with confidence rarely possessed by artists her age, donning attire mixing Catholic school uniform, the girl from The Ring, and platform shoes. From the first notes of Curaga, the first song of both the set and her brand new debut album The Magic Gift Box, to the final notes of Weirdo, delivered a second time as an encore to close the show, the artist moved with a sense of purpose and direction and displayed a knack for both the idiosyncratic and the dramatic.

She has already been compared to Björk more times than I care to count, but the comparison is one that can’t be helped: there is definitely something Icelandic about the world of this Estonian pop rocket, but there is more there that is entirely her own, that is uniquely Iiris. The way she weaves her creative melodies into the highly danceable backgrounds, the sound of her pixie-like voice that manages to be both sensitive and edgy at the same time, the stage presence that oozes both extreme cuteness and commanding authority… This woman is no imitation, she’s the real deal.

Her backing crew also deserves some recognition this evening. The show opened with the sole backing vocalist playing some kind of instrument that I can only describe as a straw mobile or dream catcher. Whatever spirits this invoked they were apparently relatively well-mannered ones, since the only consequences were a small rain shower and a tent full of enthralled advocates.

The guitarist was constantly changing guitars and instruments between songs, taking over anything from an ukulele to a single cymbal as necessary, and the drummer was solid with the beat throughout. There was a small hiccup with the mix at the beginning of the gig with the drums threatening to overbear the two lovely women on the microphones, but the guy at the mixing table soon remedied the situation and everything was good again.

I have a very strong feeling that we’re going to be hearing a lot about Iiris in the future, and I hope that we will see her again at Ilosaarirock 2013. I would like to say her limit is the sky, but according to current thought the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate, rendering such limits both impossible and meaningless. She can, and probably will, do whatever she wants.

Text: Jyrki Laitinen
Photo:Terhi Hytönen

Aihe(et): In English.