I WAS THERE: Fever Ray Freaks Out Webster Hall With Laser Canons, Smoke Monsters, and Satanic Jim Henson Costumes

Words and Photos by Andrew Parks

“See this 2 right here?” a security guard said at Monday night’s Fever Ray show. “If you move past it, you’re out of here.”

By here, he meant a pit that parted a sea of photographers right down the middle, making it nearly impossible to get a clear shot of Karin Dreijer Anderson. Which is unfortunate; unlike the Knife’s screen-sheathed magic show, Fever Ray’s full band emerges from the ether like a live Fraggle Rock film..if it were co-written/directed by Charles Manson and David Lynch. We’re talking a wild-eyed percussionist who whacks the hell out of his/her drum kit, lots of eye-gouging lasers, a Gacy-caliber clown with a mean sampler setup, a keyboardist cloaked in a fur mask, and enough freakish fog to give Sunn O))) an asthma attack.

As for the pitch-shifting puppet master behind all this madness, she’s as chilling/captivating as ever, keeping her cult following enthralled from the muted phantom melodies of “If I Had a Heart” to an extended haunted forest version of “Coconut.” No encore. No guitar solos. Just one woman’s personal hell, as filtered through flesh-and-blood electronic music. (In another move that distances Fever Ray performances from the Knife–although they’re both stunning for different reasons–Anderson’s costumed cohorts are clearly recreating her music without relying on laptops and one-button solutions.)

Trick or treat, indeed.

Fever Ray @ Webster Hall, 9.28.09:
If I Had a Heart
Triangle Walks
Concrete Walls
I’m Not Done
Now’s The Only Time I Know
Keep The Streets Empty
Dry & Dusty
Stranger Than Kindness
When I Grow Up
Here Before