Everyone was dressed up at the Drake Hotel in their greatest evening wear despite it being a Monday night: They were there to party anyways. With coats, bags and half drunken glasses all over the place, people were addicted to letting loose and just dancing even before the show had even begun as they knew what was up ahead. That’s astonishing for someone as new to the game as Sweden’s newest sweetheart Tove Lo (née Ebba Tove Elsa Nilsson). The show was sold out and the dance floor was full of diehard fans who knew all the words to her music; All of this when Tove Lo has just released her debut EP last month. Her EP Truth Serum sounds exactly like what the title depicts: A personal story told through a party atmosphere (one presumably through inebriation), and while these songs may work well as a catchy short release, would they transfer well live?
Tove Lo waltzed out onto the stage to begin her set and told us we were her first Canadian audience ever, and what a privilege that was. Her music was fitting for the night club stage, yet she moved around like both a rock star and a hip hop artist. She had such a bolstering confidence when she performed; It’s no wonder people were attached to her already in her career as there were very little signs of naivety here. To support her strong vocals, ones that still possess the fluidity of a new voice without wear and tear, the sound system last night had to reenact the hard hitting rhythms of her recorded music. The backing music did much more than that, as it was nearly impeccable. The bass was pulsating yet it never distorted. The synths were never drowned out nor where they painful. The set was as if someone tossed a rock singer onto a DJ’s turntable on a Friday night at a club downtown and somehow made it work.
The themes of moving on and self recovery didn’t seem to reflect on Tove Lo’s past, rather her songs seemed to be trophies of her accomplishments instead. The emotion she exerted came from her excitement knowing that she is slowly making it: She’s gotten past the hurt phase of the stories her songs tell. Unfortunately, her set was extremely short as her discography has yet to flourish, but that was impossible to avoid. With a booming show that never died down, we can only wait for Tove Lo’s career to start soaring so we can witness her drive onstage yet again (and for even longer).
For now, amidst the many dapperly dressed individuals, your underdressed narrator stood drink and coat in hand while everyone else danced. He saw Tove Lo on stage and felt, for a mere second, the kind of epiphany a record label owner may experience when they see a promising talent for the first time. This show was anything but the start of a career, not in terms of talent anyways. This show fast forwarded us miles ahead of anyone just starting out. Even if this genre isn’t something I usually go to see live, I can safely say that Tove Lo already has it all figured out and you will get that vibe no matter what your tastes are.
Photos by Olivia Leung.
Thanks to Universal Music Canada for media access.