Robyn and Kelis at the Music Box Over the Weekend

Fierce headliner, bad dresser: Robyn
Robyn and Kelis
July 23, 2010
Henry Fonda Music Box Theater

When Swedish electro-popster Robyn and R&B singer Kelis announced a joint U.S. tour, a quiver of delight went through their fans. Both one-named celebrities have new albums, but their similarities don't end there. Both of them also launched their careers as teenagers, and are enroute to reinventing themselves by producing intelligent pop songs of substance.
Barring Robyn's 1996 teenybopper song "Show Me Love," the Swedish pop star has been an indie darling since her 2005 self-titled release. With her fierce, strong voice and no-nonsense songs, Robyn is the antithesis of the overproduced radio princess.  Her music is ear candy, but it's also lyrically and structurally sound--plus she has the vocal chops to prove it.

Kelis, on the other hand, wants to show that she's more than an R&B one-hit wonder (who can forget "Milkshake"?) Her latest, Flesh Tone, actually deviates from her hip-hop roots and is a made-for-clubbing set. With the duo's "All Hearts" tour, which kicked off last Friday with a sold-out show at the Henry Fonda Music Box Theater in Hollywood, it seemed that both women were light years away from people's previous perceptions of their music, and could totally be called neo-dance divas.

As a headliner, Robyn was a fearless, frenetic wonder side onstage, dancing and singing non-stop to her live band (with two drummers!) engaging the crowd from the rafters to the pit. The hour-and-a-half long set had the whole crowd dancing non-stop as well, and by the time the concert was over, everyone was a hot, sweaty, happy mess. (As someone said while walking out, "This place smells like a high school locker room.")

Kelis looked amazing as well, in her silver Bo Derek wig and metallic pink jumpsuit, she sashayed up and down the stage, owning it. Unfortunately, she sang alongside backing tracks for most of her set (according to friends near the pit, she was lipsyncing to most of her songs). While her part of the show was a performance (she performed a mashup of "Milkshake" and Madonna's "Holiday"--with a bit of Major Lazer's "Pon De Floor" mixed in!), it wasn't as solid as Robyn's relentless bombardment of hit after hit. Still, everyone had fun. After all, who could resist dancing to an explosion of confetti at the end of a show?

Personal Bias: Robyn's "Cobrastyle" is probably on my list of top three best cover songs ever.

The Crowd:  Probably 90 percent of the audience were uber-cute gay men.

Overheard in the Crowd:
"Robyn and Kelis is like the gay man's Comic-con."
"This place smells like dirty cock."
"Is it just me or does everyone here look like Johnny Depp?"
(After Kelis' performance) "Can you believe that we get also ROBYN--after this?!"

Random Notebook Dump: Robyn's performance was amazing--her outfit (high-waisted white pants with roses printed on them, a midriff, and a leather biker jacket), not so much. It looked like something Madonna threw away in the '80s.



22nd Century
Holiday (Madonna cover)
4th Of July (Fireworks)
Trick Me
Get Along with You

Cry When You Get Older
Dancing On My Own
Who's That Girl
Dancehall Queen
The Girl And The Robot
None Of Dem
Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do
Be Mine
Show Me Love
Dream On
With Every Heartbeat

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