Robyn at Paradies Rock Club, Boston

On April 29th I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Robyn, best known for her 1998 hit “Show Me Love,” kick off her United States’ tour in Boston at Paradise Rock Club. And she assured the whole audience that it is definitely not 1998 anymore.

She teased the crowd by having her band come out one by one before she took the stage and when she did you’d think you were at a stadium show the crowd went so wild. She was dressed in shiny tights and a black one piece straight out of Edie Sedgewick‘s closet. She opened up with “Cobrastyle,” a Teddybears cover that’s been buzzing around the internet ever since its American debut in 2006 on her Rakomonie EP. At one point in the middle of the song, the band breaks things down, and Robyn goes crazy in the middle of the stage, completely reminiscent of a full on 60s freak-out.

It was absolutely fabulous and from that moment on she had every bit of everybody’s attention. It didn’t hurt that the audience was comprised of many, many slightly intoxicated gay men. A lesson to female artist’s out there – if you do what you do well, gay men will accept you into their heart’s almost instantly. I can assure you it won’t be long before her song “Dream On” which she played towards the end of the set and dedicated to her fans will be remixed and played in clubs all over this country.

Robyn’s self-titled album has been out in Europe for a long time now, so her trip across the pond has been awaited hungrily by the fans that have reconnected with her and her fresher sound. Robyn is doing something genuinely different and a lot of new indie pop acts could really learn from her. Her performance was electric. It bordered on theatrical but was never overdone. You could tell she had a real connection to the songs she was performing. Many songs had us in the audience singing along, which was especially gratifying for anthemic songs like “Handle Me” and “Who’s That Girl.” She even performed “Eclipse,” a kind melancholy pop tune with an ironic smile.

At one point Robyn says to us “I didn’t know you liked what I did,” and was met with almost deafening cheers and applause, which is astounding for a smaller club like Paradise. Shortly after she launched into her last song “With Every Heartbeat,” a touching melody that brought everyone back down to Earth.

When she smiled, thanked us and skipped off the stage after the song was over there was almost a collective disappointed “awww” from everyone in the audience. But shortly after a few rounds of cheering her name in unison, Robyn came back out with her band. And then, of course, she played “Show Me Love.” However, she did a stripped down, almost humbled version of it, as if she was telling us that she hadn’t forgotten the song that had defined her career but that it was time to say goodbye to it. For her last song of the evening she played “Jack You Off,” which honestly I thought was a little to silly for its own good until I saw her perform it live and realized that I just wasn’t getting it. But Robyn’s set assured us all that this time she is here to stay, and she’s doing it right. I wouldn’t be surprised if you heard the word icon tossed around in reference to her over the next few years or so.

Robyn will be at New York’ Hamerstein Ballroom tonight and you can catch on tour through the middle of May (date below) and at this summer’s All Points West Festival.

Tour Dates:
5/02 New York, NY @ Grand Ballroom at the Hammerstein
5/04 Montreal, QC @ La Tulipe
5/05 Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
5/07 Chicago, Il @ Park West
5/13 Portland, OR @ Berbati’s Pan
5/14 Seattle, WA @ Neumos
5/16 San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s
5/17 Los Angeles, CA @ Wiltern Theatre
8/08 – 8/10 All Points West Music Festival

Robyn: website | myspace

–Jimmy

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