The Knife

O2 Brixton Academy, London on Thu 6th Nov 2014

So this is the end. Announcing a clutch of UK shows, The Knife released a statement saying they felt no obligation to continue. Perhaps as a result, it's unsurprising how ready the sold-out crowd of Brixton Academy is to participate in what is from the off, less of a gig and more of an experience.

Rather than being treated to a support band, instead we get 15 minutes of "DEEP aerobics", standing for "Death Emo Electro Protest Aerobics". It's that kind of evening. It's a surreal yet brilliant moment, with some 5000 people being led, fists aloft, into body positive chants.

What follows can only be described as pure theatre - a technicolour explosion of noise celebrating the genderqueer, the feminine and challenging our expectations of what to expect from a live show. Whilst much of the show is performed live with the support of an androgynous cast, there are also forays into interpretive dance to a playback of their studio recordings, with the infectious 'One Hit' seeing the band morph into a dance troop, demonstrating the battle of the sexes. Similarly, a pulsating version of 'Full of Fire' builds into a chaotic mesh of warped, twisted beats as the group performs a synchronised routine. This time however, it leads to a final cry from vocalist Karin Andersson of "let's talk about gender, baby. Let's talk about you and me."

Whilst the fiercely political message of unity and solidarity is transparent throughout, it takes many different forms throughout the evening; whether it's the gay club vibe they manage to create, the directness of their lyrics or by monologue, with one member of the ensemble reciting Jess Arnets' "Collective Body Possum" with profound, powerful conviction. Noticeably the line "I want a body that nobody can kick out of bathrooms" elicits huge cheers. However, this collective grouping and form of presentation in no way undermines the music itself and most importantly, just how fun it really is. The driving, pulsating beat and rhythm of 'Stay Out Here' is a truly euphoric moment with the crowd dancing the night away in wild fury.

Although this being their farewell has created a feeling of disappointment that there isn't more to come, perhaps it is the right time. With this show and the album proceeding it, The Knife made their statement perfectly clear – there is no room in their world for the small minded world of bigotry, separation and hatred that has becoming alarmingly loud in the recent political climate. That solidarity and that feeling in the room united everybody together under one roof – a feeling of positive energy impossible to resist. Now their voice has been heard, it's ours to move forward. Pass it on.

article by: Craig Jones

published: 07/11/2014 15:46


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