Last time the Swedish electro-pop band The Knife played the UK, gigs were sold out months in advance. Now the touts are struggling to shift spare tickets, despite this being their last tour ever. Those who stayed away, perhaps put off by the bad reviews of last year, missed something strangely special. Not a gig, as such, but a show, in which the queer and feminist theory inspired brother-sister duo - with their 'group' - proved themselves the anti-Abba.
After a warm-up of Death Electro Emo Protest (DEEP) aerobics, eleven figures emerge, all wearing blue or purple metallic jumpsuits. For the next hour or so we are treated to fizzing percussion, piercing synths, and vocals from the duo or perhaps from others. How much was played live or not is irrelevant: the Knife's raison d'être seems to be to disrupt pop's norms, so triggering electronic loops was replaced by androgynous theatrics, and by the end the dancers were clubbers like the rest of the crowd.
From a distance, though, it would be hard to tell who's doing what, and so the deliberate undoing of traditional boy-girl dynamics - no skirt twirling and removal here - could be missed. While the ecstatic sound and light is joyous and fun, the show misses the visceral in-your-face-ness of their recent videos, which take ordinary situations and turn them into a polysexual cabaret. Taken as whole, however, the career of the Knife makes a lot of sense.