Show Review: Fever Ray at The Regency Center

by Jonathan Pirro on October 6, 2009

Fever Ray

A friend of mine and I were having a discussion about what makes a show a “good” show, or a “great” show, and what makes for an “incredible” show. We came to the following consensus: a “good” or “great” show is one you go to because you know and love the band, and you will be there to sing every note of their songs until your throat is hoarse. An “incredible” show may include elements of a “great” show, but more often than not, it will be more than 50% surprise and unexpectedness; it’s even more incredible when it is able to knock even the casual listener off their feet.

So, to preface this review: Fever Ray gave an incredible performance.
For those not in the know, Fever Ray is the solo alias of one Karin Dreijer Andersson, whom some of our readers may recognize as the singer of Swedish electronic duo The Knife. While the pair may currently be on hiatus, Fever Ray’s debut album was released in March, and Andersson began touring soon after. This San Francisco stop was one of the few US dates on her tour, which, apparently, is going to be the only tour she ever takes of the US (at least under the Fever Ray moniker).

Opening performer Vuk could not have been a more stark contrast to what the rest of the evening would entail; however, she did give an excellent performance on the combination of a zither and a harmonium. She mentioned that the album versions of the songs she performed have a much broader, fuller sound (i.e. with more instruments than just her Tori-esque voice and gorgeously rich harmonium pieces), so I’m going to make a note to track her latest album down and give it a review.

Twenty minutes after Vuk finished her set, the rest of the lights finally dimmed, and we could see shadows moving in the darkness. Within moments, a set of piercing green lasers spread out across the ballroom floor, revealing darkΒ  silhouettes placed across the stage as the opening loop of “If I Had A Heart” began echoing through the room. Fever Ray had arrived at last.

The combination of the lasers, soft blueish lights, unending smoke, and burning incense (a tech had come onstage just before the set and lit about 10 sticks on each side of the stage) would have been more than enough to overwhelm our senses. Having other plans in mind, the band began the aforementioned “If I Had A Heart”, revealing a set of tall lamps that pulsed and shifted in time with the music. I hesitate to say “lights” because they were indeed rather incandescent-yellow, with lampshades over each one. Wrapped in this forest of light and sound almost felt like being taken to another world.

The band stayed in shadow for nearly the entire set, adding yet another mysterious element to their performance. It could be seen that their outfits all looked vaguely circus-like (although perhaps Vaudevillian is a more accurate term), except for Andersson in the middle, who wore what looked like a giant buffalo headdress with a cape attached to it–and the cape was lined with light-up filament, creating a labyrinth of color that wrapped around her. In combination with the vast amount of instruments onstage–a full set of bongos, congas, djembe drums, numerous keyboards, and some synthesizer or sampler that kept up the steady, pummeling bass background–it was all but a visitation from an alien race.

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Setlist photo courtesy of Anna Garcia:

FRSetlist

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Due to popular demand, a few larger photos from the show:

Jonathan Pirro

Off-kilter multimedia enthusiast.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

danny white October 8, 2009 at 8:34 am

can we see the photo bigger please? it's really good!

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Gordon Elgart October 8, 2009 at 8:40 am

I added the full size version of three picture to the post. Enjoy! Tell your friends! 😎

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Gordon Elgart October 8, 2009 at 8:39 am

I added the full size version of three picture to the post. Enjoy! Tell your friends! 😎

Reply

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