photos courtesy of Rez Avissar: avissart.com
LIVE REVIEW: Fever Ray @ Metro Chicago 10.03.09
by Joshua P. Ferguson
I’ve been to a lot of shows at the Metro. And I’ve seen some weird ones. Marilyn Manson walking around on stilts in front of a ouija board backdrop beckoning the crowd to spit on him comes to mind. Even shows that aren’t all shock value but featured prominent stage presences—like last weekend’s Grizzly Bear show—come to mind. But none quite reached the light, costume and musical spectacle of last Saturday’s performance from Sweden’s Fever Ray (even if most of the show was covered in a thick—thick—shroud of smoke.)
As the ominous rumble of “If I Had a Heart” began undulating from the system, the smoke machines were turned up to 11, billowing sheet after sheet of grey out on to the sold-out crowd. Towering at the center of the stage, surrounded by turn-of-the-century boudoir lamps, Karin Dreijer Andersson—who made waves earlier this decade as the Knife, alongside brother Olof Dreijer—emerged with a fur-adorned headdress that gave the impression that she was over six-feet tall.
Joining her, her band of eerie pranksters was in no less impressive garb, sporting costumes that were like a cross between the Nightmare Before Christmas and Lord of the Flies. Stage left, a white-faced keyboardist nodded to the beat wearing a four-foot tall top hat. Running to and fro was some sort of hype man-gone-witchcraft waving a scepter decked out in feathers and torn bits of rags. All the while, one of the most intricate light shows ever to blast its way through the Metro mesmerized as beams of green, purple and blue shot all across the room.
Beyond the stage theatrics, the eerie, macabre soundtrack kept the crowd completely enthralled. It really was a sight to behold. Fever Ray does not make easy listening music and somehow, still, everyone there was fully on board, letting the fans and beams and laser swirls hypnotize while the band lumbered through all the highlights from its album, including “Seven,” “Now’s the Only Time I Know,” and its hit single, “When I Grow Up.” At one point my buddy—an AV specialist by trade— turned to me, in equal disbelief about the show and commented that he, too, had never seen anything like it.