Setlist: Kælan Mikla @ Pasadena Daydream at Brookside on 08.31.19

I’ve got one more setlist/playlist to post from yesterday’s Pasadena Daydream festival. Again, the acts I’ve selected are just the ones that took me by surprise, which aren’t necessarily the larger draws of the day. When I get around to a full post on the fest, complete with choice footage of some great performances, I’ll probably include the setlists for the Pixies, Chelsea Wolfe, Mogwai, etc. I think because I’ve seen a lot of these acts in recent years, I naturally gravitated towards the ones I haven’t, or never have.

That brings me to an Icelandic trio of coldwave women, known collectively as Kælan Mikla. They also get tagged as darkwave and synth-punk, which are fairly accurate descriptors. They sing in their native language, which when effected with all the delay and reverb, take on an otherworld ethereality, that’s both hyponotic and unsettling.

I actually stumbled into their performance by accident. I arrived a bit early, but got sidetracked after spilling something on my shirt. So after many minutes of scrubbing the mess out, and enduring the scorching Pasadena heat, which incidentally dried out my shirt in sheer minutes, I caught wind of the sound of Kælan Mikla coming from a shaded tent. The proved convenient, since like I said, it was extremely hot.

But it also started the day off with a pleasant surprise, after a seemingly auspicious and undeniably clumsy beginning. The funny thing is that I’ve unknowingly been listening to Kælan Mikla for the last few months, courtesy of one of my shuffled playlists. I knew the material sounded familiar. But shuffled plays are like background radio. I’m not always as informed as I’d like to be on everything that comes up, even when it catches my ear. Kind of depends on time and circumstance. Anyway, that proved to be a nice bit of serendipity.

Kælan Mikla might not be everyone’s cup of tea. But if you were there for The Cure, and you were into all the other bands of the day, these girls would probably suit you just as well. I’m guessing since they were first on the bill, that many missed them. If you did, and you’re interested, here’s their setlist for their 30 minute afternoon performance. Also, I hear that they’re coming back in September for the Cold Waves festival. Enjoy!