The Knife Live Review
The Roundhouse, London - 08/05/2013
Swedish sibling duo The Knife's last (and indeed only) tour together was a huge triumph, as was Dreijer Andersson's series of performances as Fever Ray, so expectation were high for their new Shaking the Habitual show.
The night started off well with a series of hooded figures taking to the low-lit stage to perform A Cherry On Top on stylised percussion instruments and then breaking out into some hipster aerobics for the climax of Raging Lung.
So far, so Knife - if it's possible to have such a thing. Instruments and vocals were obviously mimed, but anyone with even a passing interest in the duo would be aware of their deliberate attempts to deconstruct the idea of 'performance', so seeing various dancers 'sing' Karin's parts made total sense in the context of the show.
Even with that in mind however, as all pretence of musical performance were abandoned in favour of some am-dram dance routines and ultimately a bare stage, it all got a bit, well… dull.
When the troupe eventually returned to the stage hopes of more musical performance were raised, then dashed in favour of yet more Glee-style dance, alleviated only temporarily by a 'solo' rendition of Ready To Lose.
The closing Silent Shout benefited from a decent spectrum lightshow (and the fact that the track itself is pretty unsinkable) which allowed the audience to stop thinking in terms of being at a gig and instead just get on with dancing, before it was all over, bar a 30 minute DJ set from Hannah Holland.
The tour will continue, and will take in festivals and venues which may well suit the format better, but within the confines of the Roundhouse the show fell flat.
'Challenging', unconventional' and even 'uncomfortable' are all things we have come to not only expect but demand from The Knife, but tonight's performance ultimately just failed to cut it.
1. CHERRY ON TOP
2. RAGING LUNG
5. A TOOTH FOR AN EYE
6. ONE HIT
8. WRAP YOUR ARMS AROUND ME
9. GOT TO LET YOU
10. READY TO LOOSE + WHIRLIES
11. FULL OF FIRE
12. STAY OUT HERE
13. SILENT SHOUT
Gavin Cullen @mtvuknews