Royksopp @ the Shepherd's Bush Empire - November 5 PDF Print E-mail
Gigs - 2009 Gigs
Written by Kat Smith   

Röyksopp have touched down to Earth…uh, I mean England. The show begins with the two core members Torbjørn Brundtland and Svein Berge appearing through the fog dressed as astronauts in capes. I guess nobody told them that it was Bonfire Night, not Halloween.  Their theatricality is a necessary part of the show, as two hours of cheesy light effects wouldn’t be enough for the expectant fans.  Unfortunately, this is the lot of their lesser-funded front act, James Yuill, as a solo artist. His musical talent does carry itself, at least, as he rhythmically bangs out his material to a mellowed crowd.

It isn’t long before Karin Dreijer Andersson, the Swedish singer who has featured on much of their material since 2005, appears to begin the show with, “This Must Be It”. She adds to the extra-terrestrial atmosphere with a hair-do appears to have been inspired a cross between David Bowie and the alien invaders from "Mars Attacks". One costume change later, and Röyksopp are entertaining the crowd with more new material including the bouncing "Happy Up Here" and "Tricky Tricky".  Dreijer continues to float on and off of the stage when appropriate — at one point dancing about with the white veil covering her head.  Perhaps I had misunderstood the artistic intent behind the prop, but it looked to me as if she had just gotten caught up in a sheet on her way out.  Despite all the other visual treats that the night had to offer, the biggest surprise was the arrival of another blonde European bombshell, better known as Robyn.

"The Girl and the Robot" is her only featured song with the band, and I had naively assumed that, superstar that she is, they would have gotten Dreijer to replace her vocals on one of their most popular singles. To complete the show’s climax, one of the boys transforms into the red robot as seen in the music video, and Robyn sings, “Don’t deny me, call me back, I’m so alone”, in desperation to her mechanical lover.

The band continued to crank through their old hits including "Only This Moment" and the haunting "What Else Is There?" in which the crowd gestured along with Dreijin as she poured out the lyrics of her “one wish”. Having survived this long as a band that has rarely gained popular international recognition, aside from a few familiar adverts, Röyksopp’s accomplishments are already impressive.

I suppose their willingness to please their loyal fan base on every level, is what made this show a satisfying spectacle from the outer limits.


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