Posted by: Jeff | March 25, 2010

Live Review: Miike Snow w/ Delorean

When Miike Snow took the stage on Wednesday night at the 930 Club, they did so concealed by billowing fog and donned all in black with white masks.  It was a really cool effect, but it also lended symbolic resonance to the impression that Miike Snow is a group unsure of its own identity.

Don’t get me wrong – the seven touring members of Miike Snow are promising artists.  The show had some incredible high points.  But taken as a whole, this was a set that exposes a band still unsure of their stylistic home.  And as performers, they vary the set and tempo a little too much – there were several times over the course of the evening that they lost the notoriously impatient DC crowd.  Album highlights were dropped at random throughout the set, leaving the anticlimactic ending a little disappointing.

Two of the three members of Miike Snow – Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg – made their fame as Grammy-winning producers for the likes of Kylie Minogue, Madonna, and Britney Spears (“Toxic” and “Piece of Me”).  When word came of an artist album, people generally expected hooky pop songs with an electro edge.  And… well… that’s sort of what happened.

Miike Snow

Miike Snow’s self-titled album is erratic.  There are some tracks that sound great, but quite a lot that sounds like background filler.  It’s clear that the guys made an album of songs they thought people might like.  It’s not clear that they really like them or feel them.

Live, however, is a completely different story.  The majority of tracks from their debut have transformed in the club, with minimalistic Top 40 replicas becoming towering synth infernos.  It felt more like a rave than a concert at points, and with the Swedes of Miike Snow doing their best Jersey Shore fistpumping on stage, the atmosphere was pretty electric.  These guys get people to dance, and they make pretty great music while they’re at it.  Crowd favorite “Animal” sounded absolutely epic, with the bass turned up to 11 and the tempo pushed to breaking.  On record, the bass is probably at 4 (and tinny), and the tempo plods along at a safe, radio-friendly pace.

When at their best, as with the live version of “Animal”, Miike Snow is a formidable live act.  But both their album and the live performance are replete with instances that sound like carbon copies of someone else.  There is a track that sounds like vintage Depeche Mode, complete down to the syncopated drum machine pattern.  There’s a track with twinkly synths that could have been lifted straight from The Knife’s Silent Shout album.  And then there was crowd favorite (and concert highlight) “Plastic Jungle”, which sounds more like Britney Spears than… well, Britney Spears of late.

I understand that these guys are former producers, and still getting their legs as artists.  They’re used to writing music for other people, so it may not be natural to write for themselves.  I just hope they get it down soon, because they have a whole lot of potential.

Delorean

Openers Delorean, on the other hand, have it all.  It’s amazing to me that these Spaniards have only released a single EP (debut album forthcoming in May), but have an amazing command over their sound.  They sound unique and comfortable in their niche, something that Miike Snow could certainly note well.

It’s a shame that the Club was only about 1/3 full for the majority of Delorean’s set, because in total I think it surpassed the more visually-spectacular headlining show.  There are challenges to being an opener – their set finished a full hour and fifteen minutes before Miike Snow took the stage (an unforgivable gap, in my opinion); they don’t have much material to draw on (though what they have is fantastic); and the sound is obviously mixed for the headliner.  But they made do, and won a lot of people over with their blend of indie rock and balaeric house.  Piano arpeggios overlaid a thumping, pulsing bassline, and it was easy to imagine an epic beach party somewhere in Basque country.

Delorean is going to be a band that people hear of in the future.  And let’s hope it starts with their June 8th album, Subiza.

***************

Miike Snow – Animal

Delorean – Seasun

Delorean – Stay Close

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Responses

  1. Miike Snow was AMAZING!!! One of the best live shows i ever seen!
    I like Dolorean too but im really disapointed that they dont play much live, 60 percent was built on backing tracks compared to Miike Snow who is all live and famous for not using any backing tracks at all.
    I saw Miike Snow last year aswell and the cool thing is that its truly an original live jam everytime with them, it takes big balls to do what they do live i think.
    Cant wait to see them again!!

    Much love
    /Flynn S

  2. […] Miike Snow/Delorean Review: link. […]

  3. Yes! Miike Snow all the way!!!!
    Dolorean is good but need to start playing everything live like the snow boys do, that shiiiiit is sooo much more exiting! 😀
    I saw Miike Snow at Bowery Ballroom last night, AMAZING indeed!!! The crowd went crazy for it, in a place where ppl hardly ever even moves.

  4. Miike Snow!!!!!!!!
    Best band in years!!!!
    Love em love em love em!!!

  5. […] The Pains of Being Pure at Heart/Surfer Blood 9. Florence + The Machine 8. Miike Snow 7. The New Pornographers 6. Beach House 5. The xx 4. Spoon 3. Thievery Corporation 2. Black Rebel […]


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