Concert Reviews

Over The Weekend: Robyn at South Side Music Hall

Robyn, Diamond Rings, Natalia Kills
South Side Music Hall
February 18, 2011

Better than:
having a few drinks and listening to the DJ at S-4 spin Robyn tracks.

The overhead lights dimmed, a whirling sci-fi-sounding effect filled the room and bright blue lights flooded the stage. It was plenty of notice.

A wave of people pushed their way from the back of the venue to the front to catch Robyn's grand entrance.

But, still, more waiting, as strobe lights throbbed, the whirling got louder and two pinwheels, lit by blue and green lights located on both sides of the stage, started to spin. Robyn's band, dressed in solid white jumpsuits took their positions.

The packed house was roaring.

And, finally, Robyn stormed the stage, rockin' her signature bleached-out asymmetrical 'do.

She launched her set with "Time Machine." And the crowd went berserk.

The Swedish pop star entertained a full house at South Side Music Hall on Friday night. The vast majority of the crowd was pushed up as close to the stage as they could fit. Others lingered closer to the back of venue, dancing, drinking and socializing.

Regardless, revelry filled the room.

And Robyn made sure to cover all the basics, plus some other treats, as she powered through all her hits.

Cotton candy-colored lights lit the stage for "Dancing On My Own," as the crowd participated in the performance, turning it into somewhat of a heartfelt sing-along. She took her blazer off for "Cobra Style," and danced around the stage. Hundreds of finger-made hearts filled the air for "With Every Heartbeat." And the concert nearly turned into a rave for "We Dance To The Beat," as convoluted robot voices merged with Robyn's, and heavy beats rumbled the hall.

Fittingly, she ended her show with a cover of Abba's "Dancing Queen," followed by a take on her 1997 Billboard hit, "Show Me Love." Then then lights dimmed.

And, while most of the crowd shuffled out the doors, a good portion didn't seem ready to call it a night. Instead, they stuck around and danced to the disco music that was playing over the PA system. And why not? It'd been quite the night, with British electro-pop act Natalia Kills opening the show, followed by Tornoto's Diamond Rings.

Diamond Rings played an engaging set, with nothing more than his guitar, keyboard and drum machine. The solo artist's stage presence rode a fine line between sexy and awkward as he sang and flailed/danced around. His songs were irresistibly catchy, though, and while the crowd didn't seem entirely familiar with his material, they probably would have sung along had they been. Hey, maybe next time through town, Diamond Rings.

Critic's Notebook:
Personal Bias:
I'd been looking forward to this show for months.

By The Way: Diamond Rings is now officially one of my new favorite indie-pop acts, so make sure to check him out.

Random Note: I can't remember the last time I saw a merch table so packed after a show. 

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Catherine Downes
Contact: Catherine Downes