Wednesday, April 28, 2010

San Francisco show review: Miike Snow.

If you've been anywhere near SXSW, Brooklyn Vegan, or an episode of Gossip Girl lately, you've heard of Miike Snow. An innocuous-enough sounding moniker, until you realize that's "Miike" with two I's, not one. The extra "I" means that it's time to party.

I first came across Miike Snow like most people did, with the animal head-heavy music video.

This song, along with "Cult Logic," remains Miike Snow's most popular contribution to the 2009 cadre of indie dance grooves. If synthesizers make you drool, like they certainly do me, you'll find its marriage on this track with light reggae beats a refreshing way to get down. The sound is familiar and yet, like nothing you've ever heard before.

Then again, maybe it is. GARY! informed me that Miike Snow isn't "Miike Snow," the frontman's real name is Andrew Wyatt. And that his main production collaborators are Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, known in the music world as Bloodshy & Avant, and even better known as the Grammy-winning pair who laid down the "Toxic" track for Britney Spears.  Proving that, in the world of music economics, there really is such a thing as the trickle-down effect.

But enough of this Reagan talk: Let's talk about Miike Snow's SHOW that I caught recently.  Happy, GARY!, Andrew and my two dear friends from Sacramento, Jon and Ila, went to go see this group and Delorean exactly two weeks ago at San Francisco's La Zona Rosa-like venue, The Independent, an excited beehive of tight pants and hipsters.

So, this is exactly how I felt while watching Miike Snow.  You may be asking, "were you on a crazy drug trip?" The answer is no, I was not, but I was in fact standing behind the tallest damn man in the world, requiring me to experience the whole thing by jumping up and down in place.

Miike Snow - pardon me, "Andrew" - and his friends started out the show wearing Phantom of the Opera masks, which tickled Jon and me to no end. Before the set began, we looked at each other, and as so often happens with this man, intuited each others' thoughts. And in this case those thoughts were lifted directly from Andrew Lloyd Webber: "Think of me / think of me FONDly / when we've said GOOD-BYE!"

Oh, Phantom. How you deserved Christine.

Back to Miike Snow: Well the set was incredible, of course. I got a harder cardio workout than I ever do at the gym. Here they are, masks-adorned, performing "Burial."

Next up was "Sylvia," masks off.  Are you as surprised as I am by how much Andrew, the lead singer, resembles John Lennon?

Anyway, because we had just been spoiled the night before on the endearing stage antics of Sia, I was hoping for a little more audience interaction...some, "hey San Francisco!" thrown in between songs. But in keeping with the band's mysterious aura - WE WEAR PHANTOM MASKS AND AREN'T GOING TO TELL YOU WHY - no trifling chatty-chat fell from the mouths of Miike Snow. Le sigh.

The highlight of the set for me, however, was the pseudo-tribal version of "Animal," accompanied by big, deafening drums. You know that scene at the end of Apocalypse Now when they slaughter the buffalo and chop it all to pieces and it gets all jungle-psycho? That's how I felt, all intense and savage! (Says the middle class white girl, checking horoscopes on her iPhone, chewing on a pen that says "Eat at Jason's Deli!").

After that, I tumbled out of The Independent with Jon onto the street, where we giggled about God knows what.  Phantom of the Opera?  Slankets? The hit film and 1988 dance musical, Salsa?  These are all distinct possbilities.

Later, we traipsed around the city with our band of friendly fools, ducking into a classy bar, then into a seedy diner, and finally into a taxi cab whose driver casually played disturbing tenets of Scientology over a cassette tape. We laughed. The driver did not. At one point, GARY! wrote, "HE IS GOING TO KILL US" on his cell phone, in a feeble attempt to stifle our life-threatening giggles.

But we made it home alive.

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