Karin Dreijer knows that, in the right setting, a suit isn’t just a suit. They’ve spent much of their career, either as one half of The Knife or as a solo artist using the name Fever Ray, using costumes to great effect in photos and their stage performances. They understand the symbolic weight that a piece of clothing can represent.
In the case of the loose white suit Dreijer was sporting at the Roseland Theater on Sunday as part of their There’s No Place I’d Rather Be tour, it called to mind moments of pop culture’s past: Bryan Ferry’s louche look during his first post-Roxy period, Tony Manero from Saturday Night Fever. Dreijer played up the perception of the suit beautifully, turning on their inner lothario as they, at one point, took position at stage right, leaning back, rubbing their splayed legs and tossing long-stemmed roses to the audience.
Dreijer’s stage presence can have a sinister edge. They wore white face paint with a shade of red around their eyes and mouth, smiled with a maniacal glee, and stalked the stage and their backup singers with a visible hunger. Even when they sang about being touched by someone who loves them and running their fingers up a lover’s pussy, you couldn’t help wondering if the character they embody onstage wouldn’t plunge a knife in that same person’s side.
The whole 90-minute set ran a similar course. Dreijer paced it so the music and movement tantalized, staying just out of reach for much of the night, then letting the last batch of club-centric songs take everyone blissfully, mercifully right over the edge.