Sometimes you walk into a show expecting a pretty great thing, and emerge having experienced something three shades different, but still great - like the band jumped on the tour bus and started swerving, and your expectations went along for the ride. Sweden’s Miike Snow returned to the 9:30 Club on Wednesday night for two shows, six months after an appearance there in April. After hearing reports on that show what one would expect was a sweaty kickassian throw-down. What they brought was part sweaty dance party, part Scandinavian art show, part emo-tinged bare souled confessional that while wholly unanticipated, was great nonetheless.
The band came onstage single file to “Enter the Jokers Lair,” complete with gold masks and black hoodies. The first track on this year’s Happy to You was obviously designed to be the opening song for every show Miike Snow will perform for the next 10 years, much like “Animal” will be the closing encore song. It’s not a thrashy dance track, but more of a chill wave groove thing that takes a while to warm up. When they followed it up with “The Wave,” another mid-tempo grinder, the floor crowd aborted attempts to get a dance pit going and stood relatively still, absorbing the visuals and dazzling lights going off all over the stage with every available smart phone. Or maybe it was just early.
Thankfully Miike Snow took off the masks after one song, let down the hoodies, and just played, but even by “Bavarian #1 (Say You Will),” which was bouncy as all hell, it was still a little sedate in the lower level (not so in the balconies, where hordes of dancing guys showered us below with accidental beer spillage). Mid-set when they got to “Pretender,” the entire club finally erupted into a shaky mass of fist pumping arms and random flailing about, which was what we were all there for in the first place. “Silvia” was just simply stunning, and it turned into a weirdly evocative singalong followed by a lot of jumping around and shouting, but the song is a kaleidoscope of sound and lends itself well to that sort of psychosis. And don’t get me started on “Paddling Out” - my calf muscles are still in recovery.