This was Karin Dreijer Andersson’s first US show as Fever Ray and what a show it was. Andersson has not stepped on a stage in the States since her last visit to Webster Hall in 2006 with her brother Olof as The Knife. The stage was set with smoke machines, synchronized lamp shades of yellow incandescent light that contrasted the green laser beams bouncing off mirrors on the stage and ceiling. All of this was designed by none other than artist and director Andreas Nilsson, who has directed her spooky-short film videos as well as previous work on the Knife projects. With a much larger live band than expected, the stage was filled with three sampling stations in addition to an large percussion arrangement of tribal drums and Karin’s microphone and guitar setup.
The show opened with “If I Had A Heart” as the droning sample rung with Karin hidden beneath a large Indian headdress that engulfed her entire body. This went along with the primal imagery of Nilsson’s design that also included warpaint and American Indian hand crosses brilliantly juxtaposed by the beams of light, making the smoke look like a moving ocean above our heads.
The perfect sound mix added to what was a flawless show. The deep bass of songs like “Coconut” were heart-pounding. Lights even shined on Karin’s face as her impeccable voice crooned the lyrics to “When I Grow Up” and “Seven.” In addition to songs off of the self-titled record, Fever Ray played two cover songs recorded with Van Rivers and The Subliminal Kid. The tracks are available on a limited vinyl release. “Stranger than Kindness,” originally by Nick Cave and Anita Lane, and “Here Before” by Vashti Bunyan added to s seamless set.
The only awkward moment of the show ironically came when it ended. As Karin and company left the stage the house lights stayed off and the sold out crowd of 1400 clamored for an expected encore. After four minutes of darkness, its almost guaranteed that a band will return to the stage. But Karin Dreijer Andersson is the pinnacle of non-conformity and did not return. The house music slowly began to get louder until the house lights came on, leaving everyone confused but not unfulfilled.
This show was on our calendar for months and was easily the most anticipated of the year. Somehow our expectations were exceeded. To put it in plain English, it is was one of the best fucking performances I have ever seen in my life.
If I Had A Heart
Now’s the Only Time
Dry and Dusty
I’m Not Done
Keep the Streets Empty
Stranger than Kindness
When I Grow Up
Here’s a sample from the MELT Festival in Germany: