20 juillet 1996

Phoenix Festival

Stratford-Upon-Avon, Royaume-Uni

Björk dans le programme du festival

Texte du programme

Last summer Björk agreed to headline the first ever Uxi dance festival in her native Iceland, supported by the prodigy, Bandulu and dozens of djs. Three days before she was due to play, however, Icelandic government officials arrived at the remote site. In a well-planned operation they all but hijacked the international media who had come to cover the concert, by inviting them to take part in a snow-safari on a nearby glacier, which turner out to be half a day away. The nation’s agriculture minister took the opportunity to tell his captive audience about the benefits and beauty of Iceland, in particularly what it had to offer tourists.
As singer with her first big band the Sugarcubes, Björk Gudmundsdottir was an excellent ambassador for her country. Her phenomenal success since going solo in ’93, however, has made the 30-year-old much more than that. Despite now living in London, Björk has turned out to be Iceland’s most lucrative export. She has given the island a definite cultural identity, moulded directly to her own exuberant character. Never mind that no one else speaks in that ridiculous, Pinocchio-goes-Cockney accent, or sings every vocal style from jazz to rock to heartbreaking ballads with such an incredible range, music fans across the globe now know that Icelanders are crazy, elfin-featured vodka addicts, who wear huge puffy paper dresses, tie their hair in strange knots and jump off rooftops to make a point.
Born in Reykjavik to a bohemian family, Björk was sent to a local music school where, aged 12, she recorded her first album, a collection of cover versions of standard Icelandic pop songs. Allegedly inspired by the late arrival of punk and new wave, she formed the bands Exodus, Tappi Tikarrass and Kukl mutated into six-piece, indie outfit the Sugarcubes in ’86, however, that Björk began to develop her distinctive shrieking style and incredible vocal range. The band’s debut single ‘Birthday’ and first album ‘Life’s too good’, saw them attract much attention form the British music press, although their two subsequent albums - the experimental ‘Here Today, Tomorrow Next Week !’ and their poppiest offering ‘Stick Around For Joy’ - proved less successful. After six years, then she quit to go solo.
In ’93 Björk released ‘Debut’, a stunning fusion of jazz, house, blues and ballads, produced by former Soul II Soul musician Nellee Hooper. The album spawned a string of hit singles such as ‘Venus As A Boy’, ‘Human Behaviour’, ‘Big Time Sensuality’ and ‘Violently Happy’, became an international success and, to date, has sold over three million copies.
Her ’95 follow-up ‘Post’ boasted 11 equally diverse tracks, many collaborations with the likes of Tricky, Howie B and 808 State’s Graham Massey. The singles ‘Army Of Me’, ‘Hyperballad’ and ‘It’s Oh So Quiet’ helped Björk win both MTV and the Brits awards for Best International Female.
This year, the singer has concentrated on playing live, particularly in America and the Far East, although her latest relationship (with jungle star Goldie) and two unprovoked outbursts - one attack on a journalist, another on a fellow hotel guest - have kept her very much in the news. Let’s hope she’s had a holiday since.

  • Lisa Verrico

Vidéo partielle

Anecdote

Massive Attack, qui devait clore la journée, a finalement jouer avant Björk.

Reviews

There’s silence, and a curtain flaps.
And then white-haired, accordion-loving, somewhat pineapple-headed, it’s the profoundly dangerous pyromaniac Björk !
It’s like this really. The day has been sedate, and it is time to settle. Fires have been built, dope smoked, and navels contemplated. It has been a day for ease, and occasionally coping with the peculiar, but even so Björk is wildly disorienting : by turns excitable child, fearsome junglist, industrial moonbooter and cabaret chanteuse.
In songs like "Isobel" and "Army of Me", you think you can hack it. because in spite of all her athletic vocalising, Björk hasn’t quite gone and done it yet ; and allowed us to stay in our little fug. It hasn’t yet got all too much.
And then it comes : that moment in "Violently Happy", the joyous sound of Björk belting it out, fireworks, 1000lbs of high explosive, the sound of goalposts moving, and for possibly the first time today... action ! Which was never the plan at all.

John Robinson - NME 27 juillet 1996

Trust Björk, however to play the ultimate trump card in mood creation. A hyperactive ball of energy in maternity dress, she zips manically round the stage belting out deliberately low key versions of her dance classics. So where you’d expect a hard techno squiggle is the opulent orchestration of a Bond film and just as you think you have a handle on her voice, she turns distinctly ungroovable pirouettes and soars with the majestic fireworks displays. It’s not quite what the ravers ordered, but an enlightening experience nevertheless and one well worth celebrating. Half an E ? Whata fantastic, fantastic idea.

IW - Melody Maker 27 juillet 1996

Setlist

01. Army Of Me
02. Hyperballad
03. Enjoy
04. You’ve Been Flirting Again
05. Isobel
06. Venus as a Boy
07. I Go Humble
08. Big Time Sensuality (Plaid Mix)
09. The Anchor Song
10. Possibly Maybe
11. Hyperballad (Over The Edge Mix)
12. Human Behaviour
13. Violently Happy

sur scène

  • Kobayashi ’Coba’ Yasuhiro
  • Leila Arab
  • Plaid
  • Trevor Morais

habillée par

  • Hussein Chalayan

photographe

  • Mick Hutson