With BFGF and Natalia Kills
Friday, November 5, 2010
The Fillmore Miami Beach
Better than: The Eurovision song contest.
Perhaps it was the excitement of launching her first extensive North American tour, but Robyn didn't let the fact that the Fillmore was half-empty (or half-full if you want to be positive about it), get her down. She shimmied and shook to the beat during her entire set.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves ... There were two acts before her and plenty of observations to be made. First, Robyn's following, consisting mostly of gays, hipsters, and gay hipsters, was out in full force. Someone pointed out that the crowd was 95 percent men (they counted), but that seemed a little high to us. It was more like 70 percent.
We thought there would be more music geeks in the crowd, considering Robyn is like a Pitchfork reader's wet dream. But alas, they must have stayed home. Still, the crowd was so into the whole concert. The feeling was contagious, even though she hadn't been able to bring out a massive crowd like MGMT or Phoenix, both who played sold-out shows at the Fillmore recently.
The night started with a performance by local band BFGF, which got the early-bird crowd of about 200 people dancing. Fillmore's soundsystem only helped the duo by augmenting their sound. Vocalist Me She didn't seem to be intimidated by the large stage, interacting with the crowd the whole time.
Following them was British singer Natalia Kills. Where do we begin? Honestly, we don't want to be responsible for killing someone's fledgling career, so here is some actual audience feedback we collected after her set:
"That was like a bad high-school talent show."
"When did Carmen Sandiego become a singer?"
Problem with Natalia's set: It was cliché-ridden with amateur dancing and even worse lyrics and remarks. She has vocal range, but instead she chooses to rely on gimmicks like overtly sexual dancing and vapid lyrics like, "Perfection is overrated" and "Sex, love, control, vanity." We found ourselves constantly rolling our eyes because it was just too much. Sorry, Natalia.
Finally, though, it was time for Robyn, who came out with a four-piece band: two drummers and two on keyboards and synths. Set decor was minimal -- a stark black and white. (Think the "Cobrastyle" video come to life.) But, honestly, Robyn didn't need any of it. She danced so hard during her entire set, we were worried she was going to collapse from exhaustion. Wisely, she ate a banana mid-set. (Potassium is good for energy, FYI.)
She kicked things off with "Fembot," the odd ditty is irresistibly catchy and, at the same time, so multi-layered that it easily satisfies a music geek's thirst for something more than just an average pop song. In our interview with Robyn, she claimed her set would span her whole career. Really, that didn't happen. The majority of the material came from the Body Talk trilogy and 2005's Robyn. Not that we're complaining. It's her best work.
Standouts included "Cobrastyle," which came out less reggae-tinged than the recorded version; back-to-back performances of "Hang With Me" and "Dancing On My Own"; and the Röyksopp track, "The Girl & The Robot."
We do hope she comes back soon, maybe for Ultra Music Festival, where her music can be exposed to a wider audience. But if this is the only Robyn performance that we ever get to see in our lifetime, we'll take it.
Personal Bias: I hate pop music. But I love well-crafted music.
The Crowd: The gays, gays, oh, and did we mention, gays?
Overheard in the Crowd: A group of "punks" that looked like they could beat anyone in their path, singing showtunes by the concession stand.
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-"Include Me Out"
-"We Dance to the Beat"/"Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do"
-"The Girl & The Robot"
-"Hang With Me"
-"Dancing On My Own"
-"U Should Know Better"
-"In My Eyes"
-"With Every Heartbeat"
-"Dancing Queen" Intro (ABBA cover)
-"Show Me Love" (Acoustic)