On Saturday, February 16th, Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt, better known as Icona Pop, turned the Troubadour into a riotous dance party. The Swedish-based duo brought their refreshing blend of house music with heavy pop riffs to life in front of a sold-out crowd who came armed with glow sticks, ready to dance.
Jawo and Hjelt began the show facing each other from individual tables spread with laptops and soundboards. They opened the set with their monstrous hit “Manners,” and the venue was filled with throbbing synthesizer beats and a pulsating, multicolored light show as the women bounced between their setups and the audience while lifting their arms and pointing at the crowd. Audience members enthusiastically sang along to the chorus of “Nights Like This,” fittingly declaring, “Nights like this, you will never be alone.”
Clad in rave-style attire with their feathered vests and black leather skirts, Jawo and Hjlet were effortlessly engaging and exuded a brand of cool all their own. As the set progressed, it was clear the ladies wanted concertgoers to be a part of the show as they encouraged fans to keep dancing and ventured out into the crowd to sing along. The pair created long mash-ups of all the tracks on their debut album, so the evening felt like a giant, continuous dance party.
Their harmonies on songs about heartbreak and love (e.g., “Good For You”) reminded me of another one of my favorite duos, Tegan and Sara, while their infectious, dance-friendly hits (e.g., “Rocket Science”) brought to mind fierce dance-house favorite Robyn. Hjlet told the crowd, “It’s good to be home,” and explained that “playing here for you guys is very awesome for us,” before Icona Pop began performing “Sun Goes Down” in total darkness, save for the glow sticks the crowd swayed above their heads.
A dance-remix of Lesley Gore’s “It’s My Party” followed, as well as the explosive kiss-off song “Top Rated.” The high-energy party girls took a few swigs from their beer bottles before barreling into the pregame perfection “Ready For The Weekend,” which elicited a huge response from the Saturday night crowd.
Icona Pop’s encore began with the sweet-sounding “We Got The World,” complete with a soaring gang-vocal chorus, and melded into their infectious hit single “I Love It.” The anthem of every carefree dance club goer, “I Love It” electrified fans as they scream/sang the verses, drowning out Jawo and Hjlet. The pair began pulling audience members onstage until the crowd engulfed the singers. At the climax of the song, fans screamed, “You’re from the seventies, I am a nineties bitch,” and you couldn’t tell who was performing and who was watching, but that’s the way Icona Pop wanted it.
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