Concert review: Miike Snow, April 3, Phoenix theater

Toronto – I’ve always thought that anything with an antler looks slightly more angry than necessary. You’ll never see a doe on shields or emblems. And you’ll always assume that a stag party has nothing to do with a silent night even if reindeers might run through it carrying a fat man in red-white-trim to said party. So when I saw that rabbit with it antler hanging on the back wall of Phoenix, I assumed that Miike Snow’s show will be like a synthesizer-Rob-Zombie. From what songs I heard prior, I expected them to have a fairly self-involved air. We ran late and missed Delorean, the opener in the early evening, so there was no lead up or contrast. As we stood in the Phoenix theater, it was increasingly clear we were waiting for some snow – it must have been 30C in there. By the time the smoke was puffed out for the laser effects, I was sweating and not about to jump around despite the nature of the music.

Miike Snow came out, not just 3 but 5, each of them sporting a whole piece phantom mask, opening the set with Cult Logic. So I was dead-on, I thought: I feel like I’m listening to horror film villain electropop. The mask came off some time around the 4th song. Andrew Wyatt’s performance reminded me more of Matt Pond… composed but shy and aloof. Their less electronic songs, like Black and Blue and Faker, saw Wyatt singing quite intently – I think he might be more comfortable with the mask on. The electronic duo, though, did not have that problem – they were jumping from beginning to end. So no, I felt that they don’t really take themselves as seriously as the masks suggest, which was comforting in a sense – your ticket money (or a large % of it) wasn’t spent on the stroking of egos. Live version of Silvia had a 2 min long synth extension, a very nice touch that got a lot of crowd appreciation. Long stretches of it didn’t work quite as well though, between other songs. Some times it gets in the way of the vocal and I did have some complaints against. At least there were songs like Burial, which one can just shout out loud. I don’t recall hearing A horse is not a home, which was a bit of a bummer. Together with the smoke effects, the lighting was a new side of the Phoenix theater that I have not seen before – it’s always been “hanging at the bar to the left-hind side because the balcony is too busy”. This time it was “trippy psychedelic blinding laser in my eyeball”. One guess which song they finished the set with? That answer was so clear that by the time first 4 beats were struck the whole room was moving up and down… I seem to remember someone crowd surfing. Yet given Animal’s catchy rhythm I was really disappointed that Toronto did not match the Swedish trio’s enthusiasm. Maybe it’s because they cordoned off the drinking/19-under areas into two. And also I think because it was 9pm at this point, and most were waiting for Phoenix’s 10pm Saturday night party before getting sufficiently drunk. Either way, I’m just happy that they didn’t wear their mascot rabbit, or a taxidermy of one – that would have been one angry-looking rodent. Overall, it was an impressive show with the right type of lightning/ambiance. Sorry, though, that it took me weeks to come up with this review…

Posted on by Gary in Concerts, Everything