Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Robyn at the Riveria Theatre, 2/14/11

This Valentine's Day, Swedish pop singer Robyn played a sold out show at Uptown's Riviera Theatre.  She was originally scheduled to perform last Friday, but the show had to be rescheduled due to an illness.  Opening for her were two performers I wasn't familiar with: Natalia Kills and Diamond Rings.

This was my first time going to the Riv and I was pleasantly surprised.  Even though it's twice Metro's capacity, it doesn't really feel all that much bigger.  It is also well staffed; no twenty minute waits for the bar here!  The sound quality seemed much better than neighboring venue the Aragon.  Although, the bathroom situation is pretty desperate.

Natalia Kills was the first up.  She is a British singer/ songwriter who has a slightly darker and arty take on pop music.  She had a strong singing voice and charisma; plus she and her dancers had pretty interesting choreography.  The audience seemed to enjoy her performance. 

Diamond Rings's set was less well received, but not because his performance was lacking.  There was a long pause between the first and second performances and the audience was more than a little antsy.  It's hard to blame them, normally you don't wait 45 minutes for an opening act.  Still, it's pretty rude to call out for a headliner during an opening act. Or spend the entire time talking over a performance.  Anyway, Diamond Rings set might have been a little on the long side, but he seemed to take much of the audience indifference in stride.  He has a new wave pop sound and a David Gahan-esque voice.  In a smaller venue and under better circumstances, he'd probably be much more enjoyable. 

The audience for the show was a mixture of hardcore fans and people just looking to party.  A couple people even came in costume, including one guy who glued pieces of a paper to his face to emulate the Body Talk, Part 3 cover.  That's some serious dedication there.  There were a lot more guys than girls in attendance, which I found a little surprising.  Most of the audience was polite (actually saying "Excuse me" when moving about!) and very excited to be there.  However, a few attendees behavior was on the obnoxious side.  And some people refused to let others pass by them, like concert trolls.  Thankfully, the stupidity pretty much died down by Robyn's set. 

Robyn finally took the stage around 9:45 PM (the concert started at 7:30 PM).  She opened with "Time Machine" and the audience quickly transformed into one big awkward dance party.  The Black Keys are known for their breakneck pace live, but Robyn could give them a run for their money.  She managed to get through almost all of the songs you can dance to on all three Body Talk albums, plus a few tracks from Robyn (including "Cobrastyle," "With Every Heart Beat," and "Konichiwa B----s"), in an hour and half long performance.

Robyn has real stage presence and boundless energy, as she danced throughout the entire double encore set!   Her live backing band was a nice addition.  They really showed off their skills doing a remix/ combo of "We Dance to the Beat" and "Don't F----ing Tell Me What to Do."  Other highlights from the show include, "Dancing on My Own," "Indestructible," "Hang with Me," and "With Every Heart Beat."  She closed with probably her most well-known song stateside, mid-90's hit "Show Me Love."  It was oddly inspiring to know she still performs stuff from her teen pop star days!  And scary to discover that I somehow had the lyrics to that song lodged in my subconscious for the last fifteen years. 

Even though last Friday I was bummed to discover the show had been delayed, Robyn's many songs of heartbreak seemed especially appropriate for Valentine's Day.  It was fun and uplifting to dance and sing-a-long to unrequited love songs, like a concert and group therapy session in one!  Robyn will be opening up for Katy Perry on her next tour.  Even though I'm not really a fan of Perry, I actually dig this combination and hope it introduces Robyn to a teen audience.  Robyn may use her fairshare of profanity, but she has strong and empowering outlook in her songs that positively differentiate her from a lot of pop stars.

Check out one of Robyn's albums:

Body Talk, Part 3 (2010).
Find it in the catalog! 

Body Talk, Part 2 (2010).
Find it in the catalog! 

Body Talk, Part 1 (2010).
Find it in the catalog!

Robyn (2008).
Find it in the catalog!

Robyn is Here (1997).
Find it in the catalog!