Fever Ray

Sunday, October 18, 2009

One might find it quite difficult to conjure up the words that best describe a Fever Ray concert. It might fall somewhere under Norse mythology crossed over with a suggestive tone from the film The Fifth Element—sandwiched together in a pagan ritual with scattered vintage lamps. Either way, Fever Ray performed one of the most memorable concerts to have passed through L.A. this year. A very amusing following decked out in costumes and face paint scattered throughout the sold-out Fonda to pay respects to pseudo high-priestess Karin Dreijer Andersson.

In the pitch dark, Karin emerged wearing an antler headdress (reminiscent of a creature from a Hayao Miyazaki film, perhaps Princess Mononoke) while being guided by her band procession through a dense layer of fog. This whole composition seemed almost surreal upon first glance, and in fact, a very strong sense of imagination and creativity painted tonight to be an experience and not just an average show. Contributing to this visual presentation was set designer Andreas Nilsson, who left nearly all spectators in a state of wonder and awe. There’s curiosity in deconstructing the band and the elaborate getups, but half of the show was getting a bird’s eye view of the lasers emitting multiple segmented patterns throughout the venue. The name Fever Ray was actually formulated from the idea of an “endless beam”—hence the abundant rave-laser spectacle.

The set began with string loops from “If I Had a Heart,” the first track of the debut self-titled album, which hit the mark on the low vocally-distorted octaves. By the time “Triangle Walks” kicked in, the crowd was ready to dance to the whimsical Scandinavian soundscape. The night topped off in a tribal percussive finish with “Coconut,” which was led by a medicine man-like figure waving a staff in erratic circles, as if a hex or blessing was being performed. Whether as part of The Knife or as guest vocalist for the Nordic electronic duo Royksopp, Karin displays a wide range of talent and personalities in a one-of-a-kind presentation that leaves the mind wandering in a daze.


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