'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' gets a noise rock makeover
This punishingly loud show from artist FK Alexander essentially involves her – backed by Glaswegian noise rock band Okishima Island Tourist Association – covering Judy Garland’s signature tune ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ approximately 11 times in a row.
This means that if you stay for the entire show – and everyone did when I saw it, though Alexander and team seem like they’d be pretty chilled out if you wanted to leave – you will indeed watch the same thing happen over and over (the rainbow).
At the same time it’s also a one-on-one performance, as Alexander sings to just one of us at a time, with the rest onlookers. We’re given a ticket at the door, which we can trade in when the ‘X’ on the floor in front of her is vacant, leading to her ritualistically donning a black jacket and red shoes, taking the audience member’s hand, looking them in the eye, singing a distorted but entirely earnest version of the ballad, then giving them a little peck on the cheek at its strobing climax.
Certainly it never gets boring: at first the sheer pummelling, sacrilegious volume is the main attraction, but as we adjust to the ritual it starts to feel sweeter and more intimate. We start to focus on the bittersweet, caged bird sentiment of the song. There’s an increasingly brisk trade of audience members jostling to get their turn on the X – there is something beautiful about this earnest little moment of human contact in the midst of the scrum of the Fringe and maelstrom of the sound.
I’m not sure I had any real epiphany seeing it and after a while I started to slightly tune out; but it’s a surprisingly pleasant place to let your mind wander.