LIVE REVIEW: Robyn and Royksopp @ Pier 97

Photo by Karen Gardiner
Photo by Karen Gardiner

Robyn and Röyksopp have been long-time collaborators, with the Swedish singer guesting on the 2009 Röyksopp album, Junior, and the Norwegian duo helping out on Robyn’s 2010 release, Body Talk Part 1. Their mini-album Do It Again, a five song collection released this spring, marked their biggest collaboration yet, and they’ve embarked on a tour to mark the occasion.

At last night’s sold-out Pier 97 show, each act played a solo set before joining together for the Robyn and Röyksopp finale. Röyksopp were up first. Accompanied by a live group including a saxophonist and bass player, they started out their solo set with “Happy Up Here,” a bouncy, funky track from Junior that served well to get the crowd moving. Warm-up act, Swedish singer Zhala, returned to the stage to sing Karin Dreijer Andersson’s lines on “What Else Is There” and “This Must Be It,” her strong vocals throatier than Andersson’s, bringing depth to the two songs. Their brief set ran through “Remind Me” — which saw Svein Berge, wearing a neon yellow flak jacket, having a lot of fun jumping from his platform and running to each side of the stage — and ended with “Poor Leno” building into a crescendo anticipating Robyn’s appearance.

After opening with the near-decade-old “Be Mine!,” Robyn’s set turned to unfamiliar territory. “We’re doing some new songs…” she said, dressed in boxing shorts. “Stick with us.” The new stuff sounds good — Maluca Mala joining Robyn onstage for “Love Is Free” was a particular a highlight — and the crowd was very receptive, though it was clear the majority of them had come expressly to see her performance and she could have gotten away with pretty much anything. The audience’s reward was Robyn’s electric presence, dancing and watching her on-stage energy as she bounced, pumped her arms, spun, grinded and crawled across the stage.

It wasn’t all new stuff. “Indestructible” got a big cheer, so did “Stars 4 Ever,” but the biggest response was inevitably reserved for mega-hits “Call Your Girlfriend” and “Dancing On My Own,” the latter’s chorus surrendered to the crowd to deliver while she stood still caressing herself in that fake making out way we’ve come to expect from the song’s live performances. Robyn’s set ended with the sublime “With Every Heartbeat,” which builds and builds without ever really reaching a resolution. It was a perfect choice to leave the audience clamoring for the finale duet.

Truth be told, I saw quite a number of people leave after Robyn’s segment, presumably having gotten what they came for. The two acts’ joint mini-album hasn’t been as strongly received as their solo work, but anyone who walked away without hearing it live, backed by a huge laser show, sparkly silver costumes, robot helmets and confetti shooting out of cannons, missed out. The set began with “SayIt,” which saw Röyksopp wearing metallic hoods and Robyn lying on a table, bouncing up and down with an ab ball stuffed into the back of her bomber jacket. It seemed to reference the birthing some alien/robot form, but I’m not entirely confident in that interpretation. Though brief, the set was not just a run through of the Do It Again EP. “The Girl and the Robot,” one of my favorite pop songs ever, appeared early, and the night closed with a rare treat, “None of Dem.”

As a teaser for new albums from both Röyksopp and Robyn, Do It Again and the ensuing tour have been particularly effective. As kindred artists, their collaborations have clearly inspired both to take it to the next level and provide fans with something more than just clever marketing — together, they offer a whimsical, exciting holdover certain to satisfy until the proper rollout for their new releases.

Photo by Karen Gardiner
Photo by Karen Gardiner
Photo by Karen Gardiner
Photo by Karen Gardiner
Photo by Karen Gardiner
Photo by Karen Gardiner

 

Photo by Karen Gardiner
Photo by Karen Gardiner

 

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