The party people were in the place for Royksopp's return to New York. One of the best live dance acts proved again that two guys behind keyboards and a live singer can still bring down the house. Even the suck-a-tude of Webster Hall couldn't dampen their lively and infectious sound.
- Röyksopp Forever
- This Must Be It
- Remind Me
- Happy Up Here
- Tricky Tricky
- Alpha Male
- You Don't Have A Clue
- I Wanna Know
- The Girl And The Robot
- What Else Is There?
- Only This Moment
- ENCORE: So Easy
- Poor Leno
- Fat Burner
This is my fourth time around with Royksopp, dating back to one of most memorable dance shows in my concert going experience when they demolished Irving Plaza in 2003. Each show has been different, in that they rejigger their songs to the liking -- adding beats, quirky loops, sirens and the like. Tonight, even though they whipped the crowd into a frenzy the majority of they time, they kicked it slow-tempo style. What I remember most in 2003 was how the two Norwegians pushed every song to its limits. Even the quiet songs were cranked up for extreme levels. I think that show I spent 10 minutes jumping in place and left feeling like my brain was scrambled from their sonic assault.
Tonight's show won me over when Svein Berge stepped out from the keyboards to get into the crowd's face. The two of them have been pretty subdued in the past, but Svein decided to become a hype man for their big time pop hit, "Happy Up Here." The one Bjorn is a goof ball. His vocalbulary is not so strong, but it makes for a good laugh when he tries to introduce a song, "So ... this is aaaaaaa song ... we go back .... for you ... from an album, called aaaaahhhh The Understanding ... hope youuuuu like."
Tagging along on this tour to provide vocal support Anneli Drecker. I'm sure I wasn't the only who thought for a split second that it was The Knife/Fever Ray singer Karin Andersson. You see the mask and you hear the voice, and you think "Hmmmm" Then she takes the masks off, then you're like 'Awwwwwwww." But no, It's Anneli who pulled off all the vocals and extravagance on "What Else Is There?" and "Only the Moment" from their last album.
With these big dancey, club-like shows where the beat is king, the tough part is enjoying the show beyond the pounding beats. Let's face it, it's two dudes behind computers with a bassist off to the side. The key lies in providing enough tweaks to their well-known songs to warrant a live experience. If they didn't switched around their song structures, you would basically hear the same stuff you would hear on records. I've always said that Royksopp is in the Top 5 Live Dance Acts because they keep the audience on their toes. There's great ebbs and flows to their music, they can get you all giddy and goofy with their signature sound effect you hear on "Eple," "Only This Moment" and "Happy Up Here." Then they can turn into a serious, powerful vibe with "Alpha Male". They didn't do "Clean Sweep" tonight, but that's a track that is just crazy intense. It feels like you got to the bonus round or end screen on a video game .
Another major tip of the hat to Royksopp for being three for three in releasing quality albums. Junior is another kepper. They didn't do anything majorly different, they stick to what they do best, quirky dance pop songs, mellow vibes and choice vocal assistance. Their debut Melody A.M. is one best debuts from a Norwegian Dance Act ever! It's a shame that their output is so low, averaging a new album once every 3-4 years.
This is show one of two not sold out gigs at Webster Hall. My feeling is that you best get your booty shaking and pumping in tomorrow before the holidays. I don't want you going booty shaking-less this T Day.
I do enjoy the Nite Jewel album, Good Evening, for it's lo-fi electronic beats and dreamy vocals. The L.A. trio don't lay on that 80s schmaltz too thick, which is a good thing. I did think their sound got lost in the cave that is Webster Hall. You could barely hear the vocals and it's hard to pick up their delicate beats when all you hear is echo effects.