As much as I can relate to the urge to fetishize and quantify my adoration of music, art and pop culture, I don’t do “top five”, Hi Fidelity type lists. What’s the point when there’s so much music and art to love and keep discovering? How can I settle on a “top” anything for too long? Depending upon my mood I may flat out lurv me some Tuvan throat music or “Barracuda” by Heart with equal, it’s all that fuckin’ matters in this moment intensity and of course there’s plenty of music that elicits that response in me over and over, but waaay too much of it to even conceive of making a list. Hell, I have a hard enough time making mix CD’s with my relatively modest 60GB collection of digital music (and vinyl and CD’s) and I long ago gave up any notion of thinking I’ll ever really be satisfied with all the music I own that I already can’t possibly critically listen to. There’s always more, newer, different stuff out there.
As of Monday night however, I now have a list with a single item in it. Best concert ever: Fever Ray at the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco. I’m not sure any of the superlatives or metaphors I could imagine would do justice to the experience, but I’ll try. Ancient, epic, Norse mythos feeling, train of thought, incense, lasers, masked and tall hatted figures shrouded in smoke, distorted guitars, soul shaking bass (the likes of which I’ve never heard or felt) swinging melodies, aching vocals, crazy percussion, ultra modern electronics, all creating a brew of the most intensely organic, personal, moving and simultaneously melancholy and spiritually uplifting music I’ve ever heard. Somehow it makes sense that the inspiration for this album was the primal, visceral experience of birth and postpartum depression.
My friend Chris, said to me right afterwards, “I feel like I was in their world and… it made me want to leave the United States, cause… this is just bullshit, and where they are is where I want to be..” and I knew exactly what he meant.
My attempts to capture the experience via the video camera of my iPhone was ultimately futile as the transcendent sonics were simply too much for the little mic, but I wanted to re-live the experience a bit, so I hit YouTube last night and found some professionally shot live footage (of a different show on the same tour) to share.
So, if you can tolerate the annoying, but mercifully short promo animations at the start and end of each of these videos, you’ll be rewarded with a high quality taste of what it’s like to experience live Fever Ray.
Triangle Walks »
When I Grow Up »
Here Before »
Oh and here’s another one item list. Fever Ray is definitively my favorite album of 2009.