Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fever Ray Mesmerizes in Pomona

Fever Ray wowed the crowd at The Glasshouse in Pomona last week. Our writer Eszter was there to experience the majesty. Read her review after the jump.

An anxious crowd waits inside The Glass House for Fever Ray to take the stage. It's pitch black as fog creeps across the floor and envelopes the audience, the thick smoke making it impossible to decipher what is in front of us, save for the few seconds when a camera's flash cuts through the dark and illuminates the front of the room. The mood is decidedly eerie, and as the first pounding bass lines of "If I Had A Heart" sweep through the venue, Karin Dreijer Andersson slowly walks up to the microphone and stands motionless. She is obscured by a giant headdress of some sort, one which looks like it is constructed from elk skin and colored cloth. Hanging from the front of the headdress is thick blondish hair, not belonging to Karin, but rather hinting of another animal origin. Her band is equally as shrouded, emerging in various mime-like costumes. Her percussionist is completely covered in black cloth, faceless and unidentifiable. As two beams of lasered light shoot from behind Karin into the audience, Fever Ray's stage setting finally emerges, and the crowd sees a variety of antique lamps placed in front, behind, and to the sides of each band member. This is no ordinary Tuesday.

Seeing Fever Ray live is like being invited into the living room of a family of practicing Voodooists.  Each of the antique lamps flicker on and off in rotation to the rhythm of the bongos. At times, like during Fever Ray's cover of "Stranger Than Kindness", the lamps were used to create a strobe light effect (successfully I might add). Fog would ripple up into the light shining parallel to the ground and, when the light was blue, create the illusion of clouds drifting across the sky or waves rolling through water. It was as if I was staring into an animatronics exhibit in Disneyland. All consciousness of reality had been suspended. A few times throughout the night I imagined what it would be like to build a small roller coaster around Fever Ray's show, something akin to 'The Haunted Mansion'. Needless to say, the stage production Fever Ray has created is nothing less than hypnotizing. 

Karin's voice, even when not distorted with effects, is haunting and bizarre. Fever Ray makes a point of recreating the many sounds on their album as well as possible, and made use of a variety of shakers, drums, and wind chimes to do so. It is difficult to know how much Karin actually sang live, at one point she visibly stopped singing and played a recording of her voice instead, but it's also clear that Fever Ray is more than just a band performing songs. It is a visual experience. Not once did Karin say 'thank you' after a song. In fact, she did not vocally acknowledge the audience at all. Instead, she went straight from one song to the next, making the show feel less like a concert and more like a movie. None of this discerned me though; I felt as though I had been transported to another universe, placed like a fly on the wall into the world Fever Ray had created for me, and I loved it there. 

Fever Ray played her entire album and two cover songs she had released separately to compose a show lasting just over an hour. Each piece flowed smoothly into the next, building upon the dark and ghostly themes that have always resided within the work of Karin Dreijer Andersson's, whether it be Fever Ray or her other project, The Knife. These themes are exactly what attract me to her, and her live show left me desiring nothing but more time to spend within her world. 

You can watch Fever Ray's entire set from The Glass House on The Music Pirate's official YouTube page. 

Stay up to date on Fever Ray at her websites:

Posted by Eszter Zimanyi

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