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Photos by Mike Ford
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RÖYKSOPP and ROBYN at ECHO BEACH, Monday, August 25. Rating: NNNN
Despite only having seven songs together, Robyn (the Swedish pop star) and Röyksopp (the Norwegian electronic duo) put on a formidable show.
First up, Röyksopp, emerging at precisely 8:45 pm in matching neon, do not remain safely knob-twiddling behind their gear. In front of flashing screen projections, accompanied by a full band and sometimes a vocalist, the two played some of their most infectious, melodic stuff - including Happy Up Here from 2009's Junior album - setting the tone for the dance party that would follow. Svein Berge even jumped on the mic and flaunted his vocal skills at one point.
Robyn kicked off her solo set with 2005's Be Mine, and almost immediately began shedding voluminous layers until she was wearing something resembling a white boxing outfit with slouchy thigh-high boots. Bounding around the entire set, the singer has a primal, sexual vibe onstage, moving from her pelvis and bringing the best steps from her Call Your Girfriend video. Not for lack of trying, anyone trying to replicate them in the audience was somewhat thwarted - Echo Beach was as crowded as it gets. A couple of new songs sounded extremely promising (she had the audience fist-pumping and singing along to one of them already), and, minus her first album, she played her best stuff: Stars 4-Ever, Indestructible, and most dramatically, Call Your Girlfriend and Dancing On My Own, for which the crowd expectedly and collectively lost their shit. These are the types of songs you bond with strangers over.
But even though most of the crowd were Robyn fans first, it's obvious that the two acts are at their most creative as a combo. Playing all the songs from May's Do It Again EP (minus the final, instrumental track), Röyksopp and Robyn had a much more theatrical, abstract vibe together than separately. For Sayit, Robyn lay on her back, knees up like her legs were in stirrups, flanked on either side by her collaborators, each wearing a face-concealing mask à la Yeezus tour. Later, for their standout hit (and first song together) The Girl And The Robot, Robyn knelt on the ground and sang up to a either Berge or Torbjorn Brundtland (it's hard to say) who gazed down at her indifferently, wearing an industrial robot head. (I think I speak for the entire venue when I say, I've been there too, Robyn.)
Encoring with None Of Dem (their song from Robyn's Body Talk album) was sort of anticlimactic (it's not one of their singalong bangers), but that's a minor quibble. The concert clipped along at such a steady pace, never lagging in energy or BPM, it was hard to believe over two hours had passed.