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  • Fever Ray/VUK @ Webster Hall, NYC 9/28/09 1
Tags: / Credit: Kyle Dean Reinford
Fever Ray

Webster Hall gets shit for its prices, its show times, its subterranean club that pipes booty bass up through the floorboards at intimate shows. But you can’t argue the Hall’s landmark status, or at least not if Karin Andersson keeps making it her exclusive haunt on trips to the city. Webster only holds something like 1400 people, but at times it felt larger, like every spoke in the NYC music community was there — music writers, neighborhoodies, Avey Tare, Angel Deradoorian, Blonde Redhead, St. Vincent — and if they weren’t, there’s always tonight’s show to round out the wheel. And the Hall is often harrowed, but honestly it’s perfectly calibrated in sound and scope for this sort of show: smoke machines front and back, belly-buckling bass and pristine prerecords, vintage lamps and freakish folksy and kabuki-inspired costumes like some half-remembered sake nightmare from your grandparents living room. And lots of frickin’ laser beams (Austin Powers reference but also Jenny Slate reference — relevant). Andersson’s last stop here as the Knife with her brother Olaf capitalized on the house soundsystem and vaguely theatrical design well, too, using a forward-stage scrim to mystify and obscure the duo’s avant art piece. But where the Knife was filtered and visually restrained, Fever’s rays pierced and poured out, beams of light fanning out over the crowd, a live percussionist and a guitarist with guitar-hero posturing, even visible moments with Karin’s face. Like, real face.

The various costumes and imagery were leitmotifs from Fever Ray’s four super fantastic videos (a fifth is planned); whether they or the live show came first appears to be some chicken-egg shit according to her recent (and very read-worthy) interview with the Voice, so let’s just say they’ve informed each other. There wasn’t a narrative per se, but it was more dynamic than the Knife’s show, and you’d hear people afterward comparing this shot favorably to that last one. Narrative or no, it did unfold with perfect symmetry: two bold lasers shot out before fanning out to open the show, and the myriad rays collapsed again into two simple beams of light to close it. House lights up, everybody left — partially wondering what they just watched, fully aware they had fodder for half-remembered nightmares all their own. It was spectacular, in every sense.

Thanks to Kyle Dean Reinford for delivering these shots from a difficult shoot. Outsiders fave VUK opened, you’ll see her in that gallery too.

Comments (10)
  1. Jake  |   Posted on Sep 29th, 2009 0

    I saw Rhett Miller at Webster Hall last week when I was in NYC. They had to play their songs very quickly back to back in order to get out of there by 11pm. Because then it turns into a disco night club. After the show I went downstairs to leave the venue and was welcomed into a booty thumping bass night club. I stayed for a while to see how anyone could enjoy this headache of a scene; then I found my way out.

  2. david  |   Posted on Sep 29th, 2009 0

    hey, would anyone who attended last night mind letting me know what time fever ray actually took the stage? thanks.

    • fennis  |   Posted on Sep 30th, 2009 0

      About 10:30. And am I the only one who thought the show was dull and unimaginative? I didn’t come to see the Pink Floyd laser-light show at hayden planetarium!

  3. I think she tossed up a Jay-Z diamond hand sign in that one picture. Is this a pre-curser to the HOV joining her on stage tonight?

  4. Great stuff, really shows off Kyle’s style of photo.

  5. ww85  |   Posted on Sep 29th, 2009 0

    She took to the stage around 9:40 or 45. A dangerous thing because I had called Webster Hall and they said she’d come on at 10. You do not want to be late…

  6. erik  |   Posted on Sep 29th, 2009 0

    no it was more like 9:55

  7. erik  |   Posted on Sep 29th, 2009 0

    show was amazing btw

  8. This show kicked major behinds!

    The costumes, the lasers, the lights, and of course, the great music. There were times when I didn’t know if I ought to be scared or what, like during the Nick Cave cover with the voodoo doll. Creepy but awesome. Excellent show!

    I was cheering at the end and trying to remember if they had played every song and indeed they did. Nevertheless, it deserved the prolonged ovation.

  9. Jeff  |   Posted on Sep 30th, 2009 0

    I went last night, her 2nd night at Webster Hall, and all I can say is WOW. I was blown away. The art direction and lighting are all amazing, and work to create a really dark mysterious atmosphere, which fit the tone of her hypnotic tunes perfectly. It’s her voice live, however, that is the real amazing part. Forget the Bjork comparisons, Karin is more on par with Lisa Gerrard (not so much in range, but in focused intensity)… she sings like she’s summoning spirits from the neitherworld. It was an absolutely breathtaking and intense show. By far one of the best I’ve seen in recent years. She’s done something really special here, and if you’re someone who enjoys being transported by the live music experience, Fever Ray will take you on a journey you won’t forget.

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