The word “play” in music is perhaps one of English’s most fitting examples of a double entendre. Do you remember what it was like to discover, play and experiment with music and sound as a child? Faced with a variety of instruments to choose from as teachers or camp counselors would present you with a selection of noisemakers likely to include triangles, cymbals, maracas, xylophones and drums – a veritable cornucopia of sound.
The spirit of play need not disappear as we grow up, and musicians know this perhaps better than anyone. Musicians who use many different instruments in their live performances always appear to be having as much fun as a group of children in music class and Miike Snow’s Tuesday evening performance was definitely a celebration of what it means to play – for the dual purpose of having fun as well as creating music.
Miike Snow formed in Sweden in 2007, taking the mythical Jackalope (a jack rabbit with antlers/horns) as their sigil. Touring during 2016, following the release of their latest (and third) album iii, the band stopped for two nights in Toronto at Danforth Music Hall. Miike Snow live is undoubtedly a lot of fun, replete with great music, ambience, and audience engagement. Christian Karlsson, Pontus Winnberg and Andrew Wyatt have perfected the art of taking a large group and making it seem much smaller – despite the generous size of The Music Hall the evening’s performance felt small and intimate. The trio’s dynamic set showcased the many talents of these innovative musicians, from the vocal prowess of Andrew Wyatt to the group’s skillful use of both digital and traditional instruments.
2016 hit “Genghis Khan” came early in the evening as one of the first few songs performed by the band. Often bathed in a hazy blue light, Miike Snow went on to perform a sampling of tracks from their latest album including the excellent tracks “My Heart Is Full”, “I Feel the Weight”, and “Longshot (7 Nights).” Later in the show “Black and Blue”, a song from the group’s debut 2009 self-titled album amped up the crowd’s excitement in addition to other 2009 throwbacks “Silvia” and the ever-popular track “Animal.”
At the end of the show the audience demanded an encore, which began with closing credits rolling on screens behind the band as if the exit music for a film. Before the final encore song Andrew Wyatt advised the crowd to “give it all you got” and true to Toronto form, the crowd did exactly as bid with the show culminating in a frenzied crescendo of an epic finale.
The epitome of cool and the personification of play, this is Snow that couldn’t melt if it wanted to – making it no stretch to wonder if even hell gets a little cooler every time Miike Snow takes the stage.