Getty | Getty It's been a great year for music. But what's been even…
- Posted on Aug 1st 2010 10:00AM by Shelley White
Daniel Boczarski, Redferns / Getty Images
Perhaps because of the schizophrenic bill, the event was sparsely attended. By the time Robyn took the stage -- the last act before headliners Keane -- the amphitheatre was about one-third full.
Fortunately, the lack of bodies in the seats seemed to have little or no effect on Robyn's performance. From the opening lines of 'Fembot,' her ode to the emotional needs of an artificial gal, Robyn killed it like she was holding it down at a sweaty, jam-packed club. From the time she hit the stage, she danced. And danced some more. Combined with her spot-on vocals and a playlist of strong, melodic tunes, her constant flurry of onstage activity kept things simultaneously entertaining and epic.
Her backing band, made up of two keyboard players and two drummers, resembled mad scientists, dressed in white pants and lab coats. Robyn rocked the high-waisted, skintight, boldly flowered pants she's been favouring lately, accompanied by a black bra top and a black puffy jacket. With her short platinum coif, petite frame and Madonna-circa-'Papa Don't Preach' dance moves, she was a dazzling amalgam of '80s fly girl and a 'Blade Runner' replicant.
Robyn ran through several tracks from her latest album, 'Body Talk Pt. 1,' including the fine 'Cry When You Get Older' and her dubby Diplo collaboration, 'Dancehall Queen.' She pulled out some cheeky old favourites like 'Cobrastyle' and 'Konichiwa Bitches.' 'The Girl and the Robot,' her synthy 2009 collaboration with Röyksopp, was transformed into a certified club banger with a dizzy, disco-worthy light show. She mock-cried and staggered across the stage like a young James Brown.
By the time she performed 'Dancing On My Own,' her number-one-worthy single, she shed her jacket and threw down. 'I'm gonna dance... all night,' she sang, and then proceeded to do just that.
And if she was disappointed by the poor turnout, she kept it pretty well hidden. During the early strains of 'Don't F--king Tell Me What To Do,' while the track ran down the litany of things that bug her, Robyn took out a banana, slowly peeled it and proceeded to eat it.
It was during this song that the only real mishap of the night reared its ugly head. After she motioned that her monitor had malfunctioned, a sound guy came onstage to help. He struggled to fix it for a bit too long, and she ultimately strode to the mic and continued the song. Unfortunately she still couldn't hear the monitor, and so relied mostly on backing tracks for the rest of the song, which curtailed the middle-finger sentiment of the lyrics.
She was clearly less than thrilled about the technical difficulty. After a somewhat shaky 'Be Mine,' she turned to one of her keyboardists and expressed her frustration animatedly (off-mic). But she soldiered on, delivering a lovely version of 'Dream On,' with it's 'Neverending Story' theme song vibe, and turning back into a whirling dance party of one.
After profuse thank yous to her bandmates, the organizers, Keane and the audience, she launched into her last song, the 2007 hit 'With Every Heartbeat.' Sadly, the singalong she attempted didn't quite take. One couldn't help but think how earth-shatteringly incredible the show would have been had it been a mid-sized club gig, at the Guvernment, the Phoenix or even the Mod Club. Instead of trying to woo a venue populated mostly by people who didn't come to see her, she could have utterly blown away a crowd of a thousand or so revelers up for a kick-ass dance party with Robyn. We can only hope that's on the bill for her next visit.
Watch Robyn perform 'Dancing On My Own' at last night's gig: