Show Review: Efterklang @ Mohawk (3.6)

Danish powerhouse Efterklang had a difficult task when they came to town on Wednesday night, which was more or less, SXSW eve.  It’s hard to entice people to a show when their racked with anxiety about scheduling and/or hiding from the masses.  Sure, it wasn’t sold out, but all those in attendance were treated to a joyous evening set by the group.

Read on for our thoughts on the show, and photos from B. Gray.

Local Austinite My Empty Phantom opened up the night, with what was a very adventurous set.  You see, the band is more just a one man show, using varying loops of guitar and piano, while playing the drums.  Of course, it’s all done live and in front of your eyes, which we have to appreciate, knowing the amount of preparation that goes into set organization and execution.  Musically, it dealt with expansive instrumentals similar to the soundscapes created by acts like Sigur Ros.  However, the downside to a one man band is that songwriting is fairly limited; you don’t get the chance to bounce ideas off one another as a regular band would…it led to a sort of one note set after a while.  Still, much respect held on our behalf.

Following the opener, Nightlands took the stage, pushing their new album Oak Island.  It was an interesting set, though I’ll admit that it was far away from what I expected.  The new album has all sorts of electronic inflections, which would lead one to think that that sound would be replicated on the stage, especially considering the presence of two keyboard players.  But, that sound didn’t come out, instead they came across like a well-studied folk group, imploring extensive multi-part harmonies.  I guess when you peel away the layers of the group’s recent effort, then you can definitely see those folk/laid-back influences lurking…just didn’t expect it to be as prominent.

Following Nightlands, everyone at Mohawk was treated to an incredible treat, which seems to always be the case when Efterklang rolls into town.  It’s almost as if there are two ways to talk about the band, which now includes a few new members in the traveling entourage. First, there is the musical element, but almost more importantly there is Casper Clausen, not that I want to take anything away from the rest of the band especially Rasmus “Faces” Stolberg.  But, Casper’s role seems to play an important part in the music as well.  In my mind, he’s like the organic alternative ro Jarvis Cocker.  Whereas Jarvis always embodied a sense of sexuality, Clausen tends to shy away from that, reveling in a world of merriment, humility and wonder.  It’s charming, it’s enchanting, and it goes a long way to establish a splendid rapport with the audience.  Such charisma translates well to the stage and the song.

Most of the set at the Mohawk came from Piramida and Magic Chairs, with my personal favorite coming near the end of the evening with “Modern Drift.” It’s just such an incredible song, period, but the vocal interplay between Casper and Katinka definitely upped it a notch.  I’m having trouble identifying the proper words to explain the show to the world; it’s simply something that has to be seen.  No matter the size of the audience, feet tap, heads bob and hearts warm.  I honestly could watch this band play over and over and over.  Enough said.

More pics at the photo site

One comment

  • I also liked their “postal service” where people can forward notes, cigarettes, and other items to friends going to upcoming Efterklang concerts in other cities! So fun!

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