September 29, 2009

Fever Ray at Webster Hall

I didn't really know what to expect at a live show from Fever Ray after many multiple viewings of their simple, but visually splendid videos but since they were in town for two sold out shows at Webster Hall there was just no way I was going to miss seeing them live. Like I've been saying recently, some things are just impossible to imagine if you don't see them with your own eyes. With that being said, for some silly reason I delayed getting a ticket even though I knew I had to see what the buzz surrounding this Swedish group was all about.

I've been wanting to go out to get Chinese food since Sunday night and when that strangely never happened I missed seeing Fever Ray on Monday night. But I knew I was definitely going to get down to see Fever Ray no matter what happened. I especially wanted to see them perform live since I've been listening to their utterly entrancing self-titled record all summer long on my extended bike rides around Central Park.

Here's what happened:

Earlier this evening and semi-spontaneously, my friends Matt and Allysa invited me out for Chinese food. Thus, my plan to go out and get Chinese food sort of worked out, but not quite the way I planned. Anyway, after a delicious and very filling meal, I was on my way in a taxicab down towards Union Square. Much to my immense chagrin, when I got there I quickly found out that the show was totally sold out and no tickets were available for sale. The scalpers were out in force on all the corners repeating their mantra, "Tickets, tickets," and I heard two girls complaining about how they had just bought fake tickets. I knew I should have bought a ticket in advance. When I asked one of the bouncers at the door about tickets, he told me not to buy any from scalpers since their were scamming people on tickets. I have to say that one of the things about going to see a really hot band playing in New York City (or any cool cultural event) is that the shows are almost always sold out. Plus I seem to have a innate sense for picking the shows that attract every downtown music scene-ster. I was determined. After hanging out in front for 10 to 15 minutes, I was just about to give up and call it a night when some random-bearded-flannel-shirt-wearing-guy calls me over and says, "Hey, do you need one ticket?" Ummmmmm....yes! $30 later, we're both walking away with actual tickets and are streaming inside with the crowd. It's packed inside and I manage to squeeze myself into the 5th or 6th row of a very full venue. 10 minutes wait and the band is on the stage.

The show itself was unusual for two reasons. (1) The band wore these awesome elaborate costumes that were highly theatrical and (2) the stage was so totally obscured with fog that you could barely see anything resembling a traditional stage show for most of the set. However, despite the obfuscatory elements, what did set the show apart from some other recent shows I've seen was a terrific stage design. There were 10-15 or so large floor and table lamps scattered about providing a blurry illumination through the dense fog to the musical festivities and a great laser light show that bounced off the walls in vivid green and purple colors for the hour-long concert. The band played all of the songs off of their record and a couple others that I didn't recognize. After a very precise set, they finished up and left the stage as the crowd cheered and clapped for more. They didn't come out for an encore which was more than fine by me since it's always best to leave the fans wanting for more.

All in all a totally fun night.

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