The Knife at Bestival 2013

September 8, 2013

The Knifeat Bestival 2013: Review

With Shaking The Habitual, The Knife created a subterranean record with a cacophony of genres at its behest. It is a piece built from a foundation of drones, avant-garde and post-just-about-everything – elements which have become more and more apparent since their birth at the millennium. The group are now trying to take another step in their development, and after a seven year sabbatical from the live stage, the two have emerged with a show that matches their ambitions, and epitomises who they are now, not then.

Over at Big Top, the Swedish art-duo enter an arena marred by darkness. Nudity; lip-syncs; a troupe of figures dancing hypnotically; this is sensory overload. Your diaphragm resonates to a symphony of swells, and every nuance is embraced. With each punctual cue, the show embodies the same institutionalised world which the band attack so vehemently on their latest record. The sound of ‘Oryx’ launches a period of organised chaos, and Karin Dreijer Anderson’s frustrations with society’s closet-misogyny are tackled by a sexually oracular face staring out from a canvas. We all love Big Brother.

Whilst it is frustrating that very little of the show is live, this is still a gulf away from the ‘where do I plug my ipod in?’culture that festivals are so often burdened by, and that many disgruntled fans are trying to attribute them with. The reason being that it is so engrossingly uncomfortable. There’s something encroaching and invasive about almost every aspect; ‘where is Anderson’s voice coming from?’, ‘what on earth is that instrument?’ The spectacle, the spectacle, the spectacle; you’d expect a show that is so assertive to be involving but this is isolating and challenging, Shaking The Habitual’s constant.

As we fly into the early hours of the morning, we’re treated to the obsessively brilliant ‘Silent Shout’, which greets us with a slew of strobes and bedlam. “I know now fragility” Anderson sings, we teeter and vibrate as the night climaxes.

Many leave the show confused, others enthralled – something which has been happening time and again throughout this 2013 venture – but the most important question lies in whether in being overtly far-fetched in the show as an consistent statement, the group have over-simplified what remains the most important thing about a concert; the moment.

The Knife at Bestival 2013

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