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The Knife’s Shaking the Habitual tour is “misanthropic, challenging and artful”

on April 28, 2013, 1:31pm

The Knife Denmark

The Knife returned to the stage for the first time in seven years in Bremen, Germany on Friday night. The band performed material off their new album, Shaking The Habitual, and based on the photo you see above (via The Knife Fans), the video you see below, and a pair of fan reviews, it seems as if Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer are as adventurous as ever.

Here’s what one concert attendee wrote on Last.fm:

So i saw the starting concert in bremen and…it was awful. Practically a group dancing and ‘singing’ almost completely playback (correct me if i’m wrong), everything was awful. The costumes, the dancing, the acting (at some point one girl ‘played’ a stringed instrument completely upside down, shortening the string for lower sounds). From the warmup animator to the sudden disappearance: i had a highly unpleasant feeling during the whole show. But not because it was awful. Because i had the feeling that it was absolutely intended to be. With the videos from old concerts and a fever ray concert back in 2009, i know that the Dreijer’s are very sensible for atmosphere, mood and style. And they are skilled, having an eye for details.

It began with the animator cheering for energie, party and good feelings – mentioning along the way, that we should imagine taking an overdose and die. Songs seem to be intentionally ‘destroyed’, by the group leaving the stage or not moving at all (or moving very cheesy). They seem to perfectly omit every accentuation, every chance to create atmosphere. It was as if they tried to underline that everything was playback. Just real sloppy dancing. And with Karin’s & Olof’s occasionally smiles and grins it felt like a big, virtuous delivered “fuck you!”. To the crowd, just loving it. To the hype. To the guy behind me saying “that will be something we only experience once per lifetime”. A fuck you to me for not allowing, that the show was only awful. Maybe it was. Maybe it was the most misanthropic, challenging and artful show i wish i would have never seen.

Another fan left with a much more positive experience:

Personally i loved the show. I definately was NOT a “concert”, but mostly a “representation” on stage, but that’s what was advertised

In the fan footage below, you can get a sense — albeit a shaky one — of their concert in Hamburg on Saturday night. It captures the band’s performance of “A Tooth For An Eye”, and there’s definitely a lot of dancing involved.

Update: Also watch footage of “Silent Shout” being performed.

Hey, at the very least, they’re totally selling plastic knives at the merch table!

Update: Check out many more photos from the concert here.

The Knife next “perform” in Milan, Italy tomorrow night. Their current tour is bookend by several festival appearances, including Belgium’s Pukkelpop, Ireland’s Electric Picnic, and the UK’s Bestival. Still no North American tour dates though.

The Knife 2013 Tour Dates:
04/29 – Milan, IT @ Magazzini Generali
04/30 – Zurich, CH @ Komplex 457
05/01 – Munich, DE @ Muffathalle
05/02 – Cologne, DE @ E Werk
05/04 – Paris, FR @ Cite De La Musique
05/05 – Brussels, BE @ Ancienne Belgique
05/06 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso
05/08 – London, UK @ Roundhouse
05/09 – London, UK @ Roundhouse
05/11 – Berlin, DE @ Columbiahalle
05/12 – Copenhagen, DK @Vega
05/13 – Copenhagen, DK @ Vega
05/15 – Oslo, NO @ Sentrum
05/16 – Stockholm, SE @ Hangaren Subtopia
05/17 – Stockholm, SE @ Hangaren Subtopia
05/24 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound Festival
06/14 – Aarhus, DK @ NorthSide Festival
06/19 – Ferropolis, DE @ Melt! Festival
08/07 – Helsinki, FI @ Flow Festival
08/09 – Goteborg, SE @ Way Out West Festival
08/10 – Oslo, NO @ Oya Festival
08/17 – Kiewit, BE @ Pukkelpop
08/18 – Biddinghuizen, NL @ Lowlands Festival
08/30 – Zurich, CH @ Zurich Openair
08/31-09/01 – Stradbally, IE @ Electric Picnic
09/06 – Warsaw, PL @ Burn Selector Festival
09/07 – Isle of Wight, UK @ Bestival

Thanks to the Coachella message board for aggregating a lot of the above info.

7 comments

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Joe M
May 3, 2013 at 6:46 pm

Disclaimer:

I bought the previous Live DVD as I could not attend the shows at the time. I loved the previous albums. But I hate the Shaking The Habitual album.

Nonetheless, I got tickets to the shows in Cologne and Berlin. Why? Because I knew it would be a performance that is extraordinary in every way.

And it is. It is mostly playback. But it’s a brilliant bloody arts performance. They dance like maniacs (or myself). They have retro, amazing, gender-bending costumes and performers.

They are downright weird, and unexpected. That’s what makes them amazing. If you want to attend an electronic music gig where some guy plays “live” keyboard and some guy presses “live” buttons on an Ableton Push, go do that and you’ll have a better time.

But if you’re open for a strange, exhilarating experience that will hurt your ears, pleasure and scar your eyes simultaneously, and make you go WTF every minute…then don’t sell your tickets. Go. And experience The Knife, 2013, as you’ll never see them again.

Steven Liddle
May 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm

After being unable to get tickets for their London gigs, I invested a lot of time and money in getting to the show in zurich last night. I had high hopes after seeing the knife on their silent shout shows…….. Me and my other half were both extremely disappointed and felt ripped off by the show. I think we both get what it was about but seriously, if you have tickets – eBay them and spend your hard earned money on something better.

Indy Sigur
April 30, 2013 at 9:08 am

i bought the London gig tickets inspired by their awesome Silent Shout album. But now seeing the latest shameful videos, i have changed my mind and will skip the gig in May. I know tickets are not resellable so be it. This show they put together is an insult to underground electronic music scene. The Knife has lost it. Let the music speak for itself. I cant even describe how disappointed i am. Looks like a rip off to me. They say its anti-capitalist and all that. What a pile of rubbish!!! Selling their stuff thru Itunes :) haha. And now asking people to pay for the CD and concerts when it is just a simple rip off – money making machine. I have lost the respect to The Knife and it will be VERY hard to earn it back. I am sure thousands of people will agree with me. Over & Out

Oliver Fergusson-Taylor
May 9, 2013 at 7:23 am

you should go, i went last night and it was fantastic, the atmosphere was electric, so what if its playback, think of it as a great piece of performance art, definitely NOT worth missing!

gordon calleja
April 29, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Have just come back from the Milan show. The first few tracks were eerily gorgeous – both aurally and visually. I felt like I was in a (tasteful) sci-fi movie’s gig scene. The custom instruments, lighting and costumes really came together well to create an alternate atmosphere removed from the everyday that really contributed to focusing more on the music – both in terms of it’s emotional impact and the message(s) it conveyed.

A few tracks later and the playful/absurd dancing started, making the playback nature of the show obvious. I did not mind at all at first, noticing the rotation of the performers as singers/drummers etc – the message was clear: there are no stars in this show – but a community of equals with one voice fighting for the same thing.

This would have been ok as one point among many – as one tool in the band’s repertoire to get a message across. But as the dominant format for the majority of the concert it just left me, the people I was with and those surrounding me at the concert, rather flat. We were brought back to our circumstance at a critical remove: bodies stacked in a big hall listening to playback music while a couple of people bounced around on stage in carefully designed costumes.

Deconstruction of norms, expectations and taken-for-granted social structures involves complex unraveling and careful communication. This show clearly aims to use deconstruction to get several messages across, but it’s execution belies the arrogance of artists whose stated scope is too ambitious for their abilities. There is something pitiful in the desperate need for the The Knife to innovate in every possible way – like a prom queen who, thirty years later still wears teen-tight glitz to keep the memory of that moment of (socially affirmed, but empty) glory alive.

What starts out as a quest to redefine the musical/artistic cutting-edge turns into a pretentious dance that ends in the duo disappearing up their own arses in a puff of glitter.

Alex Young
April 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm

Thanks for the report!

gordon calleja
April 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

Pleasure!