Navigating through the swarms of costumed Angelenos in the Palladium, I entered the venue energized and ready to see Miike Snow despite having spent a full day at work (I can partially attribute this uncharacteristic burst of post-work energy to the fact that I had interviewed the band the week prior). Given that Swedish/American indie pop trio Miike Snow has been a mainstay in the LA music scene since their absurdly catchy debut single, “Animal,” first graced the airwaves, I knew this show would be packed. Still, I was a little surprised to see just how packed the venue had already gotten an hour and a half prior to the group taking the stage.
Instead of contending with the tall-as-fuck attendees already crowding around the central platform facing the stage, I opted to move over to a spot on the side. By the time I had selected my optimal viewing position, Niki & the Dove had taken the stage. Clad in LED finger lights and a puffy-sleeved frock reminiscent of an ’80s prom dress, vocalist Malin Dahlström belted out her lyrics amid a backdrop of some seriously trippy synth tunes. A solid opening to be sure, but the music was definitely on the experimental side of things.
Following Niki & the Dove was the night’s main act, Miike Snow. I was admittedly slightly perturbed that the band started 40 minutes after their scheduled time of 9:40, but I was markedly more optimistic when music actually began to play. Opening with “Enter the Jokers Lair,” the band emerged as black, hooded silhouettes. The hoods were taken off and the trio rolled straight into “The Wave,” the second single from their newest release, Happy To You.
The live renditions of “Black and Blue” and “Paddling Out” were among the highlights of the night; however, I was admittedly somewhat puzzled by the band’s track selection. In my mind, the most memorable Miike Snow tracks are their more danceable, fun ones, but the tone of this show was markedly more somber than I would have liked. I would have gladly substituted “Black Tin Box” or “Devil’s Work” for “Song For No One,” “Plastic Jungle,” or “Rabbit.” The audience also came off as fairly disengaged until the encore set’s closer, “Animal,” rang triumphantly throughout the venue. Still, this all comes down to a matter of personal preference. Barring a speaker outage during “Sans Soleil,” the set was perfectly fine from a technical standpoint.
There is one aspect that merits some bitching and that’s how uncomfortably loud the sound was in the venue that night. As someone who averages about 1.5 shows a week and has done her fair share of speaker hugging, I’d like to think my ears are seasoned vets when it comes to sound amplification for loud shows, but this concert marks the first time I was actually forced to use my impulsively-purchased high fidelity earplugs, which I had attached to my keychain in a moment of guilt-induced responsibility but had never actually used because I love hearing the full, unadulterated sound of live bands. Even then, I woke up the next morning with my ears ringing. My cochlea. It aches.
That being said, the night was far from being a bust. The music was strong enough, the band clearly knows what they’re doing on stage, and I have to credit Andrew Wyatt for singing while recovering from an illness that cancelled the band’s planned Chicago stop the week prior. While those who, like myself, adored Miike Snow’s self-titled debut may have found themselves leaving the Palladium feeling slightly wistful, fans who were particularly partial to their most recent release were probably very satisfied with the night.
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