Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: Tove Lo at Notting Hill Arts Club

The signs were good from the start. Two drum kits on an empty stage means, at some point, two people will be drumming on that stage. And that can only result in one thing: A bloody great racket.

And that's perfect because Tove Lo doesn’t do understatement. Her songs are BIG SONGS, full of passion and despair. The band knows it, too, and deliver her pop hooks with the full-blooded conviction of a rock group.

"It's sweaty up here," Tove announces two songs into the set. "I hope it's sweaty down there too." It is. Fists are pumped and rugs are cut. During Out Of Mind, pop star Marina and the Diamonds turned round and screamed at us “Fucking smash!”

Tove delivers her Truth Serum EP in order, which makes sense, as the six songs tell the story of a relationship, from besotted beginnings to devastating, drug-fuelled break-up. "I’ve got to stay high all the time to keep you off my mind," she sings – leading the audience in the world’s least appropriate arms-aloft singalong.

Tove Lo - Habits

Her vocals are flawless but not in an airbrushed way. Tove sings from her gut, and the audience clearly responds to her candour.

The set closes with Run On Love, her collaboration with Lucas Nord. It’s a euphoric, uplifting palate cleanser following the emotional turmoil of the Truth Serum material. “This was my first ever UK show,” beams the singer as she walks off stage. “It was amazing!”

As you can probably tell, I was blown away. It’s so refreshing to be at a pop show that engages the heart as well as the senses. If you get the chance to see Tove before she becomes an arena-bound pop megastar, grab it with both hands.

Lucas Nord ft Tove Lo - Run On Love

Love Ballad
Not On Drugs
Out of Mind
Run On Love

Top picture courtesy of Julian Rupert. The other shot was taken on my crappy phone.

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