Not once but twice last week, Fever Ray brought the house down—or, rather, into a trance—at Webster Hall in New York. We stood spellbound, crammed shoulder-to-shoulder from the stage to the back stairwell. I could scarcely scratch my head in disbelief without slamming my elbow into a fellow stupefied patron. We were nothing short of transfixed on the enigmatic Karin Dreijer Andersson, from the opening sampled guitar drone of If I Had a Heart through the emotionally stirring Dark and Dusty, which she sang as red fog rolled around her. Two mounted lasers and an assortment of well-placed mirrors turned the rickety music hall into a fanning web of green neon beams, while her band played amid antique lampshades popping off with yellow light with each beat. Director of Fever Ray’s four videos (and tour collaborator on The Knife’s Silent Shout), Andreas Nilsson created a set design that flawlessly interpreted the dark aesthetic into the live arena. They even had incense!
But the best production value of all came in Dreijer Andersson herself. Known for her reclusive nature and penchant for masks, she prompted shrieks of ecstasy during her performance of Seven, removing her elaborate headdress to reveal a face painted white with a black triangle. When she stood perched on the end of the stage—clad in black with arms outstretched, snapping her fingers—those shrieks that rang out from around the room said everything.