For about a half hour before Miike Snow took the stage last night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, clouds of smoke unfurled ominously over a pile of keyboards and a hexagonal beat machine, known fondly to the electro-pop group’s fans as “the blob.” It was all lights, lasers and humming rhythms from there. With hoods up and masks on, Andrew Wyatt, Pontus Winnberg and Christian Karlsson took the stage and launched into tunes from their new album Happy to You, released earlier that day.
The group started from the top with “Enter the Joker’s Lair” and “The Wave,” which set the tone for the night with its martial beat. Joined by percussionists Nisse Törnqvist and Petter Winnberg (Pontus’ brother), they alternated between songs from the new LP and their 2010 self-titled debut, sprawling out the Tetris-like intervals of one of the latter album’s standout tracks, “Cult Logic,” and keeping those who hadn’t had the chance to hear the new LP yet completely absorbed.
Of the newer Miike Snow tracks, “Bavarian #1 (Say You Will)” was clearly a favorite for the group’s dedicated fans, who flailed their arms in time with the song’s pleading chorus chants. Wyatt relished in his role as the frontman, grabbing and singing into two mics at once, then lassoing them above his head as he paced between his electric hand-harp and mini-grand piano. Karlsson fired up the crowd with his intense head-bobbing during the buildup of “Silvia,” until everyone was steadily pulsing in unsion.
The night’s highlight came when the group introduced the first notes of “Black & Blue,” off their debut. As the crowd prematurely began to sing the lyrics, a harder-than-usual beat kicked in. It was a tribal interpretation of the song that rivaled the propulsive force of any dubstep bass drop. Winnberg and Karlsson (also known as Bloodshy and Avant, the production team responsible for Britney’s “Toxic”) seemed unnaturally steady the entire show, constructing a symphony out of their various drum machines. It was fascinating to watch them work, as they executed complicated rhythms and off-beats with intense precision.
Miike Snow announced “Devils Work” as their last number of the night, but the song’s eye-of-the-tiger urgency didn’t translate to a climactic finale; an encore was in order. The night capped off with the group’s biggest hit, “Animal,” and as the crowd piled out of the venue afterwards, a sweaty Wyatt jumped the velvet ropes to get some fresh air and take some pictures with fans – ever the gracious showman.
Enter the Jokers Lair
God Help This Divorce
Black & Blue
Black Tin Box