The Knife at the Aragon Ballroom – April 23, 2014
The Knife are a brother – sister duo from Sweden, Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer. Forming in 1999, the band have released a number of albums since their 2001 self-titled debut.
Their music is best described as electronic, but they have cited inspiration from many sources including David Lynch, Aki Kaurismäki, Korean cinema, Trailer Park Boys, Donnie Darko and Doom as inspirations for their work. In addition, Karin has named Sonic Youth, Kate Bush, Le Tigre and Siouxsie and the Banshees, while Olof has cited techno, grime and Southern hip hop.
The Knife have led an interesting path through their musical career, frequently eschewing typical standards of the music industry. They rarely make public appearances, their (infrequent) concerts find them heavily costumed and they rarely cooperate with mainstream media. Their music has been awarded with a number of accolades, including the Swedish Grammi’s, Scandinavian Alternative Music Awards and from Pitchfork Magazine that named their 2006 album Deep Cuts album of the year.
They released their fourth full-length album, Shaking the Habitual in April of 2013 and toured in Europe that same year. In 2014, The Knife announced a limited North American tour including Toronto, Boston, the Coachella Festival, and fortunately for the Midwest, Chicago.
Their twelve number set, although short, was both an auditory and visual delight. Beginning with a cross-dressing messiah/aerobics instructor who made us interact with both our own bodies and sometimes our neighbors bodies, while chanting life affirmations.
With their first number, there was no question that this was not your typical concert performance, but, rather, an experience where reality, illusion, art, music and time were all going to collide and create something that was to challenge our normal paradigms of what is and isn’t to be expected at a concert.
With more than 10 dancers onstage, including Karin, the dancers moved from song to song, instrument to instrument, frequently with velocity and abandonment. The result was, in their own words, meant to upset the status quo, forcing us to question life from different angles and how to bring that into daily lives. Upsetting our reality was stressed repeatedly throughout the show. With no opening band (except the David Koresh aerobic instructor) or encore, but an invitation for an hour long dance party afterwards, it was without question one of the most stunning, challenging and amazing concerts.
Below are a montage of photos taken the night of the event. Enjoy this assemblage.
Strawberry Tongue Radio is pleased to be featuring the tracks Full of Fire from their Shaking the Habitual album and Heartbeats from Deep Cuts.
Find more music from The Knife on iTunes.
Setlist from April 23, 2014 is as follows:
Wrap Your Arms Around Me
We Share Our Mothers’ Health
Without You My Life Would Be Boring
A Tooth for an Eye
Full of Fire
Ready to Lose
Pass This On
Stay Out Here