Monday, November 06, 2006

Pitchfork reviews The Knife's first ever US performance, and takes the words right out of my mouth:

"So we're confronted with the reality of one of the best albums of the year, by one of Pitchfork's favorite bands, delivered using tropes that send the authenticity police into fits of rage: lip-synching, silly dancing, cool light show, superclub dance beats. Does that mean the Knife's performance was insincere, or lightweight, or somehow less worthy than that of a band sweating through a set, pounding on their own instruments and pouring their hearts out on the mic? Fuck no. Does it mean that we need to alter our antiquated notions of "worthiness" and "realness" in pop music performance? Fuck yes."

The Knife performance was as much theatre as concert. No one really knows if they were playing anything "live" on stage, but it doesn't matter because they put on an amazing show, and a show is ultimately what I want to see. Unfortunately too few electronic musicians even consider the performance element of a live show. There is nothing more lame than watching a guy in a t-shirt hunched over a laptop playing everything "live". What is the point? Movement, visuals, silly costumes, etc. become more imperative when the music is coming from machines. The very nature of the machines provide an amazing opportunity for artists to be more creative, to add whole new layers of experience for the audience, and to re-examine what a live show can be. It was refreshing and exciting to see The Knife understand this and take it to a level that borders on performance art... performance art that rocks.

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