Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The heart is deciduous transliterated

Everybody has the list of concerts they want to see, even if it would require the reanimation of a corpse or two. Until cryogenics steps up production or American Idol sells reanimation technology via text votes, I'll just have to work on the currently alive and kicking artists. The newest check mark: Bjork.

So far the Volta tour has only three dates in the States: one coming up in Atlanta, one in New York, and last night's in Detroit. Oh. Mah. GAWD. That was the best concert I have been to. The show was at the Fox Theatre, a gorgeous venue that totally matched the aesthetic that Bjork was trying to accomplish. The opening act was M.I.A. (by the way, EEEEEEEEE!). Although I love her, the last time I saw her in concert was a bit more enjoyable. There were a couple of major differences: 1) The Fox is an actual theater with seats and no dance floor, a fact that M.I.A. mentioned later in her set when she talked about how "[she] usually does this joint in clubs." 2) The opening act for Bjork is at a different level than the opening act for LCD Soundsystem. When she opened for the latter, I think there were more people in the crowd there to see her than LCD. Not so much the case this time. 3) When there is a Tiger game happening across the street from the theater, parking is a bitch-and-a-half, or maybe three-quarters. So people were running late. As a result she got the standard opening act treatment -- foolish concert-goers.

I'm glad there was an opening act because you then get to see the set construction in between the two artists' sets. As the light guys were getting in position the stage hands were setting up a series of flags. I got the feeling that the show was going to have a plot of some sort, or at least include some of Bjork's more militaristic songs. When the lights finally dimmed, a line of ten women playing a processional on brass instruments entered the stage. It may have been the mythological references hidden through the architecture of the theater, but I interpreted their staging as incorporating the essence of the Greek Muses.

Then the first grunt of "Innocence" and a blast of confetti. And Bjork came out on stage and the rocking out began. The entire band was getting into it, but instead of being choreographed they were all dancing in their own way. So cool. After every song, Bjork would go up to the microphone to say "Thank you." The staging also included video displays where you could watch the different electronics manipulated by her bandmates, which was intriguing.

The sound was awesome. The only problem I had was during "Pluto", partly because you couldn't really hear the build-up of the tension and partly because it was the last song of her set. After a lengthy ovation she returned to the stage to perform "The Anchor Song" in English and, I assume, Icelandic. My only other major critique was that the brass band did not bust it out during I Miss You, which surprised me since that song is all about the ecstasy of the brass section.

The final song was a riveting performance of "Declare Independence". Perhaps it was the M.I.A. performance from earlier in the back of my mind, but I never realized how political Bjork's music is. Though nothing says "Fuck you" better than the song 5 Years, particularly the live version. The way she was mocking the target of the song had me giggling. I giggled more watching her dance. Bjork dances to her music the way my sister would dance while listening to Bjork. I find that validating.

So yeah, Bjork is the shit. As if you didn't know.

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