Swedish Debut CMJ: The Knife and Lo-Fi FNK
I've had bad luck. After managing to see zero bands on CMJ Day One and not quite a full set yesterday afternoon, I spent last night at only two shows. Both were excellent; both were Swedish; both made their USA debut.
The Knife were creepy, or at least their weird balloon projections were [see the skull in the picture to the left]. But it wasn't the skull that gave me the creeps, it was the projection of that dude sleeping and then waking up to sing along. The videos on the backdrop and the scrim didn't do much for me, and I'd rather have the focus more on Karin and Olof. Unfortunately they were dressed in black and hid in shadow, so discerning what was happening on stage -if anything at all- was difficult. Olof mostly dancing behind his instruments while Karin supplied the haunting vocals. The energy of the crowd was excitable and I got goosebumps when they played "Heartbeats". From that they went straight into "Silent Shout", playing my two favorites in succession. A few times they reminded me of Blue Man Group, with better songs but lesser visuals.
Over at Galapagos in Williamsburg -stranding the L-trainers after midnight- Lo-Fi FNK provided a cheerier brand of electronica. Not only did they provide a fantastic album earlier this year, but it translated wonderfully in concert. It was the late night dancing and revelry I needed to ignore my exhaustion and illness I felt brewing in my stomach. Thankfully I'll be seeing them a few more times this week.