Once in a blue moon, a live show happens that reminds me why I made the decision to pursue writing about music over a decade ago. As a music fan, I love every genre equally and don’t cater to any one style — but damn, do I love pop music. It feels good; it’s catchy and sticks to your brain like bubble gum. But when it’s the Icona Pop girls in question, it’s also as much of an artistic expression as anything you’d hear from your favorite left field indie artists, and it’s for that reason that this dynamic Swedish duo are worlds apart from any of their pop contemporaries. They didn’t have a DJ onstage with them playing backing tracks and there was no lip-syncing to be found here. This was just as much a performance as witnessing a full band onstage. Although they didn’t play to a packed house at the Metro, there wasn’t one head in the house that wasn’t bobbing to their infectious beats and not one ass left unshaken to their rabble-rousing bass lines.
Opening up the set with a drastically different take on “We Got the World,” the show kicked off in prime form and had everyone moving within seconds of the bass hitting. Up until now, this track was already a force to be reckoned with in the ladies’ arsenal of pop masterpieces, but this epic retake of the song moves it even further into the club. If there’s any justice in the world, this version will see some sort of a release in the future. From this moment on, the set took off into layers of the pop stratosphere that until now have remained untouched. The girls blended electro, pop, funk, rock, house, and everything in between effortlessly for future hits like their just released “All Night” and “Then We Kiss,” which had Caroline Hjelt performing on a kazoo.
One thing is certain… whether they’re playing to a packed house or not, the Icona Pop girls are having a blast onstage, and this is quite possibly the most appealing aspect of their show. It’s one thing for a pop act to sound this good, but it’s another beast for them to have this much fun and make it look that good. The best cut of the show had to have been “In the Stars,” though. This song has all the right ingredients for a timeless pop classic in the same way that any of the Spice Girls' popular singles or even any of Britney Spears’ hits still sound relevant. Sandwiched in the middle of their upcoming album, This Is…Icona Pop, it’s one of those gems that will have you skipping back to it over and over again to the point where you won’t hear the rest of the album until days later.
In a world that’s overrun with so many pop artists moving their music into club territory, Icona Pop started out in the club (anybody who’s released music through Kitsuné mean business in the dance music community) and are pushing the boundaries in order to move this music into the future. It’s a shame that they’re mostly known for one song (yes, you know the one) when the other music they’ve released is worthy of just as many replays. Listen to “Ready for the Weekend” and tell me that isn’t one of the best pop songs of this decade — and hearing it live takes the track to a whole other place. Icona Pop are more than worthy of the success they’ve earned themselves, and when held up next to artists who rely on a massive team of producers and suits to fine tune their sound for them, this duo surpasses the rest. If you get a chance to see these lightning rods of real pop music live, do yourself a favor: buy a ticket and prepare yourself for the most fun you’ve ever had at a live show in your life.