Live Music + Gig Reviews

Miike Snow + Niki & The Dove @ Brixton Academy, London

31 May 2012

Miike SnowBrixton Academy was full to bursting for this extremely attractive double bill, containing two of the finest acts in Scandinavian pop music at the moment.

The only regrettable issue caused by this billing was that someone had to go first, when the audience was still settling themselves and getting the evening’s conversation out of their system. Thus Niki And The Dove had some talking to compete with, but they comfortably held the attention to make a lot of new friends. Singer Malin Dahlstrom was captivating in an emerald green dress, carrying a large orange pompom that she shook decoratively when the moment was right – which it frequently was.

DJ Ease My Mind was an inevitable highlight, its icy tones coursing through a generous, bass heavy sound system, while The Drummer had a steely edge from its beats to the cutting vocal, brilliantly executed. Last Night brought reminders of The Knife, but only in a good way – for Niki And The Dove were original enough and vital enough to suggest it may not be too long before they are headlining venues such as this.

Miike Snow had the crowd nicely warmed up then, but they seized the initiative from the off with a dazzling light show to go with their offbeat electronic disco. It is surprising just how much of their music making happens off the beat, with many of their awkward yet strangely triumphant melodies built around cascading synthesizers (The Devils Work) , rolling drums (Bavarian #1 (Say You Will), or even the contour of a marching band in The Wave.

The set was full of moments which were, frankly, rather wonderful. When the bass of Burial went through the floor it was surprisingly easy to exalt to a song whose catchphrase of “Don’t forget to cry at your own burial” strongly suggested we should be doing otherwise. Lights flashed in dazzling unison with the snare drums of Vase – again off the beat – while Silvia was met with ecstatic whoops from the crowd. Countering this was God Help This Divorce, a time to take stock amid a deep red glow in the middle of the set.

Inevitably the crowning glory was Animal, given an encore all to itself, the whole of Brixton Academy hurling out singer Andrew Wyatt’s joyous falsetto and enjoying the pounding bass drum supplied by Thomas Hedlund. Again there was a strange sense of wonderment that pop music like this can somehow work despite being off the beat both musically and lyrically. That it does is entirely down to this trio’s talent as songwriters – two of them penned Britney Spears‘ Toxic after all – and their skill as musicians. Both qualities were firmly to the fore as the night took on epic proportions, with many of the crowd dancing and singing at the same time. Clearly a night for multitasking!

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