Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Satan's lasers

Fever Ray is scary. And amazing.

A couple of years ago, a friend (hi Henry!) offered me a ticket to see this band the Knife at the El Rey. Something had come up, and he was unable to go.

I’d heard the buzz on the Knife, but really didn’t know them from the proverbial Adam. But I knew the show was crazy sold out and the hottest ticket in town, so I bought it from him. Sometimes, I am smarter than I look.

The show was a mind-boggling multi-media event that kind of defies description. The Swedish brother-sister duo brought it on every level, and then some.

Fast-forward to this week. I knew Fever Ray (which is a solo project from the sister half of the Knife) was coming to town. But being generally overwhelmed by life, didn’t really pursue it. I have enough shows on my plate, you know.

Randomly on the day of the show, I get an email from Fever Ray’s publicist telling me that I’m on the list.

OK, the universe had decided that I was to see Fever Ray. Who am I to argue?

Once again, I’ve proven myself to be smarter (and luckier) than I look.

Despite the show being sold out, I was able to secure a nice comfy seat in the balcony.

That’s when I noticed the crowd. It was a pretty wild mix of hipsters and collegiate types. My favorites were the hardcore fans that came in full neo-tribal face-paint, a look that goes very interestingly with jeans and a t-shirt.

The opener was Nosaj Thing, a one-man show operation. 

Dude makes nice music. It’s very M83-lite meets the more melodic end of Radiohead. Lots of synths, very dreamy. All good. 

My only issue is calling his performance a “live show.” Basically, we watched a guy tweak some knobs on a box and stare at a laptop screen while interpretively dancing. Where I come from, that constitutes a DJ gig. That’s all.

Things got really interesting in the time leading up to Fever Ray. The music being played was so messed up. I called it “music to disturb people.” It was reminiscent of an Italian horror movie soundtrack from the late ‘60s.

But then Fever Ray came on. Whoa.

The show was like a cross between Daft Punk and an ancient satanic ritual. With lasers. Lots and lots of lasers. It was one of the coolest nights out at a concert I’ve had all year. The music is just as techno-primitive as the Knife, all hypnotic beats and weird chanted vocals. Awesome.