Photos by Neil Van
Sigrid is an enthused, sincere, confident, charming ball of energy and an absolute pleasure to see live.
I’m going to preface this review with a warning: I bloody love Scandi pop. Robyn, Lykke Li, Royksopp, Tove Lo, Abba – it’s an embarrassment of riches. So prepare yourself for a glowing review of my new favourite gift to electropop: Her name is Sigrid and she’s a welcome addition to this pantheon of Nordic pop geniuses.
Fresh off the heels of a UK tour, Sigrid and her band are across the pond for a series of North American shows and a spot at Coachella. Toronto was the first of these dates – and it was a doozy. The queue was 100-strong by the time doors opened and the crowd inside were enraptured from the moment Sigrid took to the stage. Whenever a recognisable song started, the front row sang along.
Sigrid’s a freshly hatched artist who flew the home nest of Norwegian success in 2017. She’s having a meteoric rise so far and already has a slew of catchy singles under her belt. We’re treated to an album-long set filled with her EP and single releases and some brand new material which I hope heralds a debut album before too long.
Opener Go To War sets the perfect tone for a show packed with tunes that make you want to never stop dancing. Plot Twist features early in the set and has a rap-like tongue roll to the line “better work on the hype” perfectly suited to that Norwegian lilt. Her voice is strong, clear, and powerful, with just the right amount of quirky high notes and a wonderful gravelly undertone that shines through in songs like Dynamite and Don’t Kill My Vibe; it helps underscore the kind of ‘dance until you heart mends’ floor fillers Sigrid is masterfully creating – and draws strong parallels with Robyn.
Sigrid looks so clean cut and young; mostly thanks to her happy disposition – she smiles so much. Her dancing is fun and energetic to match her set; bouncing around the stage with her mic, shining with swagger and punctuating beat drops with air punches. She’s a happy ball of sunshine even during self-proclaimed saddest song Dynamite, offering faux grimaces to offset the perfect sorrow of the lyrics. It’s absolutely charming.
As Sigrid introduces recent single Raw she’s taken aback by the verbatim rendition from fans. It looks like the early days of adoration still have Sigrid floored and it’s a pleasure to see her genuine reaction to her early career success. I Don’t Want To Know gets a huge whoop from the crowd, and a playful wink from Sigrid. It’s melancholy feeling even deeper when you hear her plaintive tones with your own ears. Doing You A Favour and In Vain are a spectacular demonstration of the strength and sorrow of Sigrid’s voice, and have the crowd captivated.
Sigrid’s polished stage presence oozes strength and confidence – it really feels like she’s at home up there. This could add a distance between performer and crowd, but she perfectly balances it with an earnest, relatable, cheery charm. She looks into the faces of her fans and leans into the front rows – inviting them into the performance in a way that once again reminds me of Robyn. It’s quite a thrill to have your favourite musician look you in the eye and smile.
Brand new single High Five is perfectly suited for a gig “ooh everybody loves a show/lights up they all go home”. The show is closed by two heavy hitters: Strangers is an ecstatic ode to being in love with the idea of love, and as lights go down for the distorted opening refrain of Don’t Kill My Vibe, there’s a thrill of excitement in the crowd that ends the gig with a flash and bang of joyful dancing.
Sigrid sings, not just about heartbreak, but the strength those lessons give you. Her lyrics and performances are an encouragement to speak up for yourself and be confident in who you are; “I won’t apologise for being me” is her refrain from Raw. Sigrid is a bright, shining, sharp new voice in pop – I think I’m in love.
- Go to war
- Plot twist
- I Don’t Buy It
- Savage In Our Blood
- I Don’t Want To Know
- Fake Friends
- Doing You A Favour
- In Vain
- High Five
- Don’t Kill My Vibe