What is Miike Snow’s sound these days? The trio’s earlier records had a signature electro-pop-downtempo sound, but their most recent performance at The Shrine in Los Angeles proved to be a bit more enigmatic, reflecting their newest record. The group’s live execution drew influences from a variety of genres: the typical catchy pop hits were complemented by edgier rock sounds, an in-your-face brass section, and a surprise visit from Charli XCX.
Miike Snow opened with the upbeat and piano-laden “My Trigger,” off their newest album iii, and within three songs, the crowd was audibly cheering along. As they moved through the set it became clear this show was not going to sound just like the recorded versions of their tunes; each song had a unique element added for the live adaptation.
“Sylvia” was reworked with added reverb and the low thumping bass gave it a heavier quality. “Paddling Out,” featured an unexpectedly funky trumpet interlude, while “I Feel the Weight” was transformed into a robotic slow-jam tune via extensive distortion on the vocals. A flute solo with a Jethro Tull feel was introduced at one point, begging the question…which instrument will they not utilize? The fusion of dissimilar sounds worked incredibly well throughout the show, and the ooze of catchy pop hooks still shone through, complementing each song in just the right way.
Miike Snow’s newest album indeed indicates they are moving towards a more genre-melding sound. In fact, the fourth track on the album, “Heart is Full,” contains a sample of “Waiting for Charlie to Come Home” by soul and disco artist Marlena Shaw (which itself is a cover of Etta James’ original 1962 recording).
Though the group appears to be experimenting both in studio and on stage, the attendees at The Shrine were nothing short of wildly enthusiastic, clapping heartily when well-known intro notes to hits were played, and dancing emphatically to whatever instrument or technique the group employed next.
Halfway through the show, lead singer Andrew Wyatt mused cheekily into the microphone: “I have tremendous predictive powers when I’m on this stage” before whipping out maracas and launching into a spicier version of “A Song for No One”. Yes, maracas.
The group rounded out the show by bringing Charli XCX on stage for the dance groove “For U” and then closed with crowd-pleaser and anthem of Summer ‘09, “Animal.”
The live show was a whirlwind of genres, as if their signature sound had taken a rollercoaster ride through the last few decades and become a bit funkier, heavier, and sometimes grittier. If you thought you had the Miike Snow sound of yesteryear pegged, think again.