Contagious wave of energy at Hoxton Square with Niki & The Dove
Electro-pop Swedish duo Niki & the Dove, of singer-songwriter Malin Dahlström and multi-instrumentalist Gustaf Karlöf, were at Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen last night, 16th February, gathering more than 400 people.
After debut EP Under The Bridges/DJ Ease My Mind was released on iconic indie label Moshi Moshi, Niki & the Dove have been touring on the NME’s Emerge Radar Tour alongside Wolf Gang and SCUM. Niki & the Dove reached number five in the BBC Sound of 2012 Countdown (Michael Kiwanuka claiming first place).
For this sell-out gig, Niki & the Dove told fans on Facebook: “If you’re going to be in the audience, make sure you remember your glow-sticks.” I did not have a glow-stick. Big mistake. I felt left out.
The capacity back room of Hoxton Square Bar was not enough to contain the smoky, neon, enormity of Niki & the Dove’s sound. This is pop music that has learnt all the rules just to know how to break them. Niki & the Dove make us think of everything that they are not. Think Florence and the Machine, The XX, Cults, Kate Bush and Crystal Castles. Now roll them all into one. Now throw them off a bridge. Hoxton Square Bar last night felt more like Glastonbury’s Dance East. Tracks like Mother Protect and DJ Ease My Mind are already this summer’s indie classics if last night’s audience are anything to go by. Live, these tracks take on a momentum which is almost untranslatable to record. The Drummer, a contender with Mother Protect as the highlight of the set, became epic and tribal. This ancestral yet cuttingly modern feel was propelled forward by onstage dancers who created a hopelessly contagious energy. Malin Dahlström, set slightly back onstage, nevertheless commanded the space, as much with her powerfully confident presence as with the undeniable force of her voice.
Live, the band’s ethereal sound turns into deliciously tense builds of noise and a kind of booming mystical anger. With Niki & the Dove, it’s all about the feeling. Explanation, clarity and meaning are all pushed back. Everything comes down to mood and in Hoxton last night the mood was one of sheer thrill. The energy and vitality onstage and the abundance and verve in the crowd seemed to make the walls bow out. A band that is already outgrowing its venues can only burst out of them. Niki & the Dove should be huge and soon.
On 31st May Niki & the Dove will play Brixton’s O2 Academy with Miike Snow. Pre-order their debut album DJ, Ease My Mind on iTunes now, out 14th May.
Watch the video for Mother Protect here: