Under Byen

SXSW showcase reviews

Live Shots
Photo By Aubrey Edwards

Under Byen

Emo's Main Room, Thursday, March 15

Under Byen was proclaimed "probably the best band in the world" by Rolling Stone's David Fricke in 2003, and while that declaration might be a bit grand, their live set proved they're at least the loudest band at Emo's on Thursday night. Their fifth album, Samme Stof Som Stof, is a bit of a snoozer, singer Henriette Sennenvaldt's whispery, Björk-aping vocals curling rather than creeping, while strings and hypnotic drums ride a little too precious, not enough dirty. Live, the Dutch eightpiece, playing in front of trippy, vertiginous projections, combined the instrumental buildups of Sigur Rós with the doomy downfalls of Neurosis. Yes, Neurosis. From dark, industrial dirges to massive, mellifluous breakdowns, it's all about the feeling, which they convey through assemblage – thumb piano, cello, violin, two drummers, piano, bass, and guitar. When the cello goes Hitchcock and Sennenvaldt's icy croon creeps up behind you, her blond hair illuminated in green light, it's goosebumps all around. Maybe not the best band in the world, but at least they're not doing the same ol' stof.

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