Posts Tagged ‘ Robyn

Live Review: Robyn @ Echo Beach, Toronto 06/03/2011

This review originally appeared at Chartattack.com

Robyn‘s made three Toronto stops in the last year, but Hogtown’s appetite for her seemingly knows no bounds.

As people crowded into the rather haphazard and makeshift “new” venue, Echo Beach, it was clear many had caught one of her previous appearances, while another large cloister of fans were just coming around to the Swedish chanteuse’s brand of Euro-disco pop music.

John O’Regan, better known as Diamond Rings, once again opened and it’s easy to see why: his own take on sentimental synth-pop and a penchant for ridiculously loud clothing (red leather jacket, matching Blue Jays cap and some very bagging trousers) put him perfectly in line with Robyn’s own aesthetic.

O’Regan performed on his own, and set failed to match the shimmering recorded power of last year’s Special Affections, though he did give it his best, stalking the stage like the seasoned performer that he is. But O’Reagan appeared to be at his most natural while playing guitar, which suggests his other more rock-leaning band, the rechristened Matters (formerly known as The D’Urbervilles), might ultimately win out in the struggle for O’Reagan’s comfort zone. But for now he appears to want to continue to ride the Diamond Rings wave.

Robyn hit the stage as the sun went down to the pulsing beats of “Fembot.” She was clad in garish tights and a bomber-jacket with “Konichiwa Records,” her label, emblazoned on the back, and quickly set the tone for the night by dancing up a storm on stage.

Her set was heavy on material from the Body Talk trilogy, and was very similar to her past appearances. But as great as songs like “Dancing On My Own” and “Call Your Girlfriend” are, it’s clear it’s Robyn-the-performer that draws fans back again and again.

Though the set needed to be tightly scripted in order for her four-piece band (with two drummers) to keep the beat moving, nothing about Robyn’s performance felt affected, from her dance moves to her interactions with her band. Fierce looks quickly melted into bright smiles as she soaked in the love from the crowd. Her short set was augmented by two encores; the first included “Hang With Me” and “With Every Heart Beat” while the second ended with a slowed down version of ’90s hit “Show Me Love.”

It remains to be seen whether or not Robyn can carry the goodwill and dedication of her core fans further into the pop mainstream. But it’s clear from this night, that as a performer she’s ready for the big stages and bright lights that pop stardom brings.

“Dream On” with Christian Falk

Live Review: Robyn @ Sound Academy, Toronto 01/26/2011

This review originally appeared at Exclaim.ca.

Robyn’s self-directed reinvention finally seemed complete last year, when she unleashed her excellent Body Talk full-length. The album closed the book on her transformation from late ’90s teen-pop star into Euro-disco diva, embraced by indie-minded hipsters and, if her Toronto gigs are any indication, the gay community as a whole.

But as her star re-emerged on the pop-culture landscape, Robyn seemed to find herself right back where she started. Last fall, the Swede appeared on teen-drama phenom Gossip Girl, while she will be playing warm-up act to teen-pop sensation Katy Perry across North America this summer, playing some of the very same venues she turned her back on over a decade ago. So in reclaiming her image, has Robyn simply come full circle?

Her rescheduled performance at Toronto’s Sound Academy would suggest not. Drawing heavily on the dance-floor fillers that populate Body Talk, Robyn proceeded to throw down the gauntlet for all subsequent pop shows that role through town, swinging, dancing and twirling her way into the hearts of the sold-out audience who cheered her every move.

Robyn fills her songs with heartfelt emotion, giving her listeners an actual piece of herself as opposed to a manufactured version. Similarly, onstage Robyn gives a piece of herself to her audience and, in turn, feeds off their energy in a performance that is neither hindered by the shallowness of a singer like Perry or the choreographed and distracting spectacle of Lady Gaga.

Her exuberant personality won over even the most casual fans in attendance, as she had the entire bar dancing along to her three-piece band (her second drummer was mysteriously absent), who were decked out in white lab coats. Throughout the 90-minute set, the singer never wavered in her energy levels, stalking the stage with a determination that rivals Mick Jagger, grinding the air and generally defying physics with her flexibility and dance moves in a pair of impossibly huge platform shoes.

Whatever Robyn has in store for the future, it’s clear that she continues to occupy the driver’s seat of her own career. While she may continue to flirt with the mainstream she once abandoned, these dalliances are on her terms. If Robyn decides to move away from the fan base whose fervent adoration helped spread word of her resurrection, it will be of her own volition.

“Hang With Me”

The ultimate fan video? Robyn’s “Fembot”

Via Chartattack.com

I don’t know this man, or what possessed him to a) make this video and b) post it on youtube for the world to see, but this is freaking amazing. Apparently we both write for the same website (Chartattack) – does this mean I have to make one of these to keep up with the Jones-es?

Record Review: Robyn – S/T

Robyn’s first official North American release in about a decade isn’t actually that new. For those not in the know (re: people with better things to do with their life than read about 90s pop stars on the Internet) Robyn was a contemporary of Britney Spears back in ’98. In fact Max Martin, who penned hits for Britney, Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC, co-wrote her two big US hits “Show Me Love” and “Do You Know (What It Takes).”  Most of these tracks were on the Swedish version of this record when it was released over there in 2005. This North American release does a bit of juggling with the tracks adding “Cobra Style” and the excellent UK hit single “With Every Heartbeat.”

At this point, what more can anyone say about Robyn. This was one of the top reviewed albums of 2005 and rightly so. The record stands up three years later which says a lot for a pop album (albeit an incredibly sophisticated one). Half the album is single worthy while the remaining tracks are far from clunkers. I have no idea why it took Robyn three years to get this damn thing a domestic release, but now that it’s here, I just hope everybody (re: people outside the blogosphere) will stand up and take notice so that next time I won’t have to wait.