In one corner you have Robyn, the Swedish pop star who shunned major label support to create her own brand of electro-pop, only for the world to sit up and take notice anyway. In the other corner you have Röyksopp, the shape-shifting Norwegian electronic duo that can now boast over a decade in the limelight since the release of their debut album, Melody A.M.
Do you go for a) Robyn, b) Röyksopp, or c) Both? At the Hollywood Bowl on Sunday a sellout crowd was treated to a massive dance party (on a school night!) that gave us the best possible value for our money, which was option d) All of the above.
The night featured a near-seamless run of music that lasted well past the two-hour mark, beginning with a career-spanning set from Röyksopp that saw them acting as the opening act for their own joint headline show. The set saw the duo supplemented with extra musicians, including two drummers, to give the music both added punch and a more organic live sound. They dipped into the whole catalogue to warm up the crowd as the sun began to set over the Bowl, and the seats started to fill up very quickly.
As Röyksopp said their goodbyes, a small figure wandered onto the stage without any fanfare or introduction and to little audience response. When she started singing “Be Mine” and the crowd realized it was none other than the feisty Robyn, they reacted ecstatically.
Robyn has rightly earned kudos over the years for forging her own path in regards to her music, and that approach has reaped dividends, but as a performer, she isn’t lacking either. Backed by her band, she delivered a string of hits that saw pretty much everyone in audible distance singing along, and now that the sun had set, she was accompanied by a light show that featured lasers. Lots and lots of lasers.
Robyn’s energy on stage alone would probably be enough to make this a fun set, and that’s without considering the golden run of songs she was able to put into the show. When you can sing “Call Your Girlfriend,” “Dancing On My Own,” and “With Every Heartbeat” back to back (indeed, the latter is one of the perfect pop songs of the past decade), you’re pretty much onto a winner. She left the stage to rapturous applause, but once again, we did not have to wait long for a further treat.
The recent collaboration between Robyn and Röyksopp, the Do It Again EP, is one of those hook-ups that makes total sense and sounds exactly how you would expect it to sound, which is by no means a bad thing. The performance of this EP was the headline part of the show, and it led to the unusual sight of Robyn taking center stage without actually having to contribute that much vocally, particularly during “Sayit.” The slightly left-field nature of the EP makes it better as headphones music for me, but by now the preceding sets had got the crowd going to the point that they would probably have danced to Aphex Twin’s more obscure work if it were played.
And so it was that Robyn and Röyksopp continued to perform past the two-hour point, and the party just kept on going. Not bad for a Sunday.
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