YouTube Presents: Niki & The Dove

I just finished watching the live, streaming performance of Niki & The Dove on YouTube Presents. While it took the show a little longer than expected to get underway, the exclusivity and uniqueness of it was worth the wait.

Magnus Böqvist’s main drums boast a new, broken down set this time. The band having two percussionists is a wonderful idea that I’m sorry to have missed when I’ve seen them play before. Songs like “Mother Protect” have an added bonus when Gustaf Karlöf plays a drum, too. And there’s a rich, dirty, mushy sound on “The Fox,” that’s created by having an accessory/added percussionist – Ian, Gustaf later tells, is his name. Ian’s existence goes on to create a super tight sound when playing seemingly every single hit of every line of “The Drummer” with Magnus on stage. Also noteworthy with drums – I adore how Magnus rides on the splash, which is situated in the center of the kit.

The vocals are really dry for Niki & The Dove today. Malin Dahlström is very standalone for most of the set, not accessing the secondary microphone with the processors until half way through. When it happens, though, the vocal layering and soft, smooth, quiet keys make a wonderful alternate intro into “DJ, Ease My Mind,” and what will become an outro, too, that bleeds and fades directly into the final tune, “Tomorrow.” Gustaf, again, plays keys and the tom with his right hand, simultaneously. Once again, all the real, trashy, sludgy drum sounds give the live performance a purer character.

It’s great to see exactly what Gustaf is playing today – how fast he changes patches and how intricately he uses that APC40 for, for instance. It’s worthwhile to watch him play the beginning of “The Drummer” – I never realized that he was playing every one of those asymmetrical, choppy synth notes. Appreciations deepen.

The bass tends to warble and distort sometimes throughout the set, under the unusually pristine vocals. The bass on “DJ, Ease My Mind” is super distorted. It sounds as if it might be taking over live, but comes across as super compressed or limited in the stream.

Malin is equipped with a pom-pom through most of the set – shaking it sometimes, embracing it at others. She puts it down about three songs from the end of the set, and picks it up as the last notes ring out, shaking it above her head, smiling sincerely, celebratory in approach, certainly. She later tells Rich Juzwiak, the moderator, in the after-show interview, that the pom-pom is a tribute to her Swedish friend Mina.

Malin talks about how Niki & The Dove has ‘slowly grown into a live act.’ I think it’s important for fans and music patrons to understand, but I’m unimpressed with the fact that Juzwiak had never seen the band live before this performance. I feel like he didn’t do his homework, especially since a live, ‘televised’ performance is so much different than a tour stop or a festival gig. At one point, Gustaf says, ‘Wow, you’ve really done your homework,’ and he takes the compliment, even though the question has come from a fan.

Juzwiak also verbally reflects on the set as ‘Niki & The Dove in a nutshell,’ but I’m sure I agree with the accuracy (or insult) of that and, from Malin and Gustaf’s reactions, I’m not sure they do either. The question was brushed off.

I love the duo’s response to the origin of the name, Niki & The Dove. Malin says the name is a secret, because ‘some things you don’t need to talk about… because you can talk about something too much and empty the meaning.’ It’s an endearing approach.

Malin and Gustaf comment on a few things pop. Malin mentions that ‘Kate Bush is a living legend’ and Gustaf talks about how ‘the sounds’ of initial creation ‘are very connected to the song.’ He gives props to Magnus and Ian’s skills and importance of their live sound additions to the band. Malin expresses, as always, super, super appreciation for the interviewer, sponsors and fans having Niki & The Dove.

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