Words by: Chris Clark | Images by: Katie Carroll
Miike Snow :: 04.15.10 :: The Independent :: San Francisco, CA
Most people I talked to going into Miike Snow's second of two sold out performances at San Francisco's Independent were under the incorrect assumption that they would be seeing one guy perform onstage that night. There were others who'd heard the Swedish outfit would be the trio of Andrew Wyatt and the production tag-team of Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, better known as Bloodshy & Avant. They, too, were wrong. This was, in fact, the first time I've been at a show where the band actually had to explain who they are to clear up general confusion.
Live, Miike Snow is a six-member crew, donning über-hipster, all black attire, white face masks, with the ability to completely captivate a crowd from the opening chord to the show's end. They switched instruments, played on synthesizers and looked like they enjoyed every minute of it. Featuring a sound that touches upon super-sensitive emo, bangin' beats, and modern day indie with several dance party rockers, Miike Snow did not disappoint, though they didn't quite blow the roof off either.
In only a few short years, Stockholm, Sweden's Miike Snow has gone from an unknown to selling out an American club tour and playing Coachella and Sasquatch. Playing two nights at The Independent pre-Coachella, the Swedes brought the success of their self-titled debut album and their mega underground hit "Animal" to a sweaty club anxious to see just what they had to offer live.
I wasn't sure whether to expect a blow-your-mind set or a sit on my couch and slowly bob my head music experience. Were these songs going to sound like their remix of Britney Spears' "Toxic," or even their Madonna or Kylie Minogue remixes? Was this going to be a skinny jeans, super-sensitive suck fest? Well, the reality lies somewhere in the middle. Miike Snow provided moments of auditory bliss but each bright spot often led nowhere around the next curve. The band came out quickly, enjoying a ride on the packed crowd's fervor, and their sharp, intelligent composed pieces shined brightly.
During the band's first few selections, singer-guitarist Andrew Wyatt conjured a dark, lyrical undertone to their stylish pop sound focused on dance-friendly beats. One of the short set's highlights came in the richly textured "Plastic Jungle," a song that grew some extra legs in the live setting. As the set wore on, their sound turned more melancholy. Each time I'd begin to find a groove, the vibe would quickly dissipate and we were back to square one. Granted, Miike Snow is no jam band or anything of the sort, but I was hoping at the club I might see a little more of the live show. Fittingly, they ended their set with "Animal," and in true sing-along fashion, the entire crowd knew every word.
Going into a show with no preconceptions or expectations is the best way to have some objectivity. I love Miike Snow in the studio setting; a truly capable, intelligent group with the pop sensibilities and forward thinking necessary to produce such a solid first effort. In the live setting, the quality is still there but it only comes in waves.
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