"The first strike of the hammer / made my heart beat faster / the rat-tat to remind me..." The first lyrics out of Miike Snow front man Andrew Wyatt's mouth—timed, naturally, with two smacks on the snare drum—came to life in the opening seconds of "The Wave." Not only did they ignite an anxious mob of fans on Lolla's south field, they reminded me how excellent it is to see this band live. A trio in the studio, Wyatt and the production duo Karlsson and Winnberg (a.k.a. the Grammy-winning Bloodshy and Avant) flesh out for performances with multiple percussionists and keyboard players.
Moving into "Burial," the band was in no hurry, inching along like a synth-pop funeral march and disguising heavy lyrics like "Misery is all we know lately" in a sheen of hyper-produced rhythms and sheets of synth melodies. An ever-present smoke machine and the flash of flood lights were the closest thing to stage pomp and circumstance, but that didn't stop a parade of stars from queuing up on the south-east field to take in the show. Werewolves from True Blood, stoners from That '70s Show and Jesse from Breaking Bad all bobbed in delight to Miike Snow, an outfit that a nearby friend described as a true band's band.
There is some truth to that. Karlsson and Winnberg, the band's Swedish component, divide their time between producing pop hits for larger-than-life names like Britney and Madonna, and then propelling Miike Snow to its own kind of indie stardom, in large part thanks to songs like mid-set stunner "Sylvia." It was one of the band's more muted moments, and the din of the audience could be heard singing along. Balanced relatively equally between the band's two albums, the indie-dance outfit's set barreled into the stronger parts of the catalog, bookending hits "Paddling Out" and "Devil's Work," from this year's Happy to You with an on-point rendition of "Black and Blue," from its self-titled debut, and, of course, runaway hit "Animal," which proved without a doubt that musician and fan alike have something to love in Miike Snow.