May 1, 2014

The Knife played Terminal 5

First and foremost, it should be noted that the Shaking the Habitual show was not a Knife concert, but instead, an elaborate spectacle featuring stunning choreography, hypnotic lights, and flamboyant costumes. It was a visually arresting experience. A gender neutral utopia where there were no boundaries between brothers and sisters; we shared our mothers' health. The majority of the show was performed to a backing track of prerecorded renditions of each track. Eleven people assembled onstage and all were presented as members of the Knife. The show began with the entire stage backlit and drenched in fog. Suddenly music began as if coming from nowhere and voices soon followed. Everything seemed extremely calculated, movements happened precisely on cue and there was no leader present on stage. Karin and Olof were never even properly acknowledged. Beams of light shone through every crevice of the stage and reflected off of shimmering crystals placed around the stage. Various people on stage took on vocal duties (Karin was actually a major factor in this aspect) and the overall collaborative nature really honed in on the idea of a classless (end extreme wealth!), genderless, and boarder free society. Of course there were some of the hits you'd expect as well. "We Share Out Mothers' Health" really kicked off the night and made people move, while the dancing to "One Hit" was a certain highlight of the evening. However, the crowd at Terminal 5 seemed to be an all-time worst. People crammed in tightly, but had little to no movement through the show. Most seemed baffled at what they were watching. As the night closed out with "Silent Shout", the crowd seemed more energized, but no where near the energy of when Fever Ray played Webster Hall back in 2009. The last time the Knife came to New York, it was 2006 and they were touring behind the masterful Silent Shout. Their popularity has risen significantly since those days and perhaps many were expecting an EDM style show featuring all the hits (they didn't perform "Heartbeats"), but this was not a concert. One of the difficulties behind the album Shaking the Habitual was the length and and abstract sounds that filled the record. It is something that has aged extremely well as the listener's patience grows and begins to understand the complexity of each track. This show follows the recent trend of this band. It's a show unlike many others and certainly not a concert. The habitual was shaken and now we can process what we witnessed.

"Wrap Your Arms Around Me"
"Raging Lung"
"We Share Our Mothers' Health"
"Without You My Life Would Be Boring"
"A Tooth for an Eye"
"One Hit"
"Full of Fire"
"Collective Body Possum" [Poem]
"Ready to Lose"
"Pass this On"
"Stay Out Here"
"Silent Shout"

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