Korallreven @ Bowery Ballroom, 3/4/12
When a band’s first show in the U.S. is the headlining act at the Bowery Ballroom, that says something. After all, it’s a venue that remains in the dreams of many musicians and one that bands playing there for the first time exclaim “Finally!” to onstage. Swedish duo, Korallreven (aka Marcus Joons and Daniel Tjäder, of The Radio Dept), played an extremely subdued, professional, and cool set on Sunday, March 4th. They were touring in support of their aptly-titled album, An Album By Korallreven, which features Victoria Bergsman (Taken By Trees, The Concretes) and Brooklyn-based experimentalist Julianna Barwick.
The set was definitely a groovy one overall. Both musicians were also joined by Bergsman, who was featured on the duo’s single “As Young As Yesterday.” Marcus Joons, who had already proven himself to be a funny character during our interview, wore a flower in his hair. He spoke and interacted minimally with the audience, but his presence was very intense and magnetic. All three performers onstage that night took on very serious expressions. All songs were extremely well-orchestrated, with Marcus acting as a sort of conductor at times, dropping his arm at a certain pivotal moment during a song or between songs. The music slowly built up in energy, with a steady and gentle pulsation nearly the whole time; this energy was highly engaging because of the way it would only change in tempo ever so slightly. The minimalism of Joons’ lyricism, combined with steady electronics, sweeping synths, and drums, gave this dream/electro pop a slight 80s feel and an overall refreshing listening experience. To top it all off, with the way the light was hitting him, Marcus, with his blond hair and overall light color scheme, seemed almost angelic.
The final quote of the evening was made by Marcus, as the band was about to exit the stage. “Fun, fun, fun. Thanks,” he said with the slightest smile. The band then went offstage and did not return for an encore. Their set felt rather short overall, lasting about 50 minutes. In the end, this group may have been better suited for a show in more of a club atmosphere, but the Bowery was still the best springboard for them. The set provided listeners with a nice taste of what is to come – probably a sold-out event the next time.