Arts & Entertainment, Features, Reviews

REVIEW: Tove Lo brings a sparkly grunge-pop performance to Roadrunner

The stage was a heavenly dreamscape of clouds, and the band, dressed all in white, floated among them. The audience began to jump up and down in excitement just as Tove Lo, clad in shining armor, burst onto the stage, lighting up the room with her presence as she began to sing.

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Grammy-nominated singer Tove Lo performed at Roadrunner as part of the tour for her latest album, “Dirt Femme,” which was released on Oct. 14, 2022. She was accompanied by opener Upsahl, an indie-alternative artist with whom she co-wrote the song “Toast” in 2022.

Tove Lo performing at the Roadrunner on Tuesday, Sept 12. Tove Lo released her latest album “Dirt Femme” on Oct. 14. ELLIE STEVENS/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

Tove Lo, a Swedish singer known for her grunge-pop hits, earned her first big hit in 2014 with “Habits (Stay High),” which alludes to the highs and lows of drug use. The song reached no. 3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and spent 39 weeks on the chart and its popularity helped launch her still prolific career.

To begin her electric show, Tove Lo ran out onto the cloudscape scene of the stage in a silver suit of armor, resembling Wonder Woman as a popstar. The crowd erupted when she began to sing “Pineapple Slice” from her latest album. She followed with two more upbeat songs, “Attention Whore” and “Cool Girl,” which kept the energy high.

After a few more songs and an outfit change, Tove Lo introduced one of her most popular songs: “Talking Body.” Judging by the audience’s excitement, the song has stood the test of time since its release as part of her 2014 debut album, “Queen of the Clouds.” With encouragement from the singer herself, the audience amped up their dancing for the hit song as a neon beach ball made its way across the venue. Halfway through the song, Tove Lo flashed her chest at the crowd, an action that received cheers from the mob of concertgoers.

A song about fun and freedom, “Talking Body” was one of the best-received songs of the night, and not just because nearly everyone knew the words. The audience’s energy shifted during the number, especially when Tove Lo instructed concertgoers to get low. As the music built up, she counted down until the beat dropped, bringing the entire audience to their feet in celebration.

When it was time to slow things down, Tove Lo sang “Moments,” an emotional ballad that led the audience to sway and hold their phone flashlights in the air. Next up came “True Romance,” during which the lights illuminated her from behind as she belted out the words: “In danger of a true romance.”

Tove Lo performing at the Roadrunner on Tuesday, Sept 12. ELLIE STEVENS/DFP PHOTOGRAPHER

To bring an end to the mellow segment of the show, she sang “Grapefruit,” which starts out slow but has a subtle, fast-paced beat in the background.

I could tell there was something special about the song. Tove Lo clearly connected deeply to the lyrics — her entire body moved with them as she sang. The audience, as if feeling her passion, moved with her, too.

She told the audience that “Grapefruit,” which she wrote about her struggle with an eating disorder, “hits me different every time.”

“I feel euphoric because it is in my past,” she said, adding that she has come a long way in terms of loving her body. The song picked up midway and a light show followed suit, making it a perfect transition back to her usual feel-good music.

To finish the set, she sang “True Disaster” then ran off the stage as the band still played. The lights went off, and everyone cheered until she reemerged in her final outfit of the night for an encore.

After Tove Lo thanked the band and crew, she said, “This next song changed my life,” and the audience knew exactly which song to expect. The iconic “Oh oh” that signals “Habits (Stay High)” had the entire audience belting the lyrics with her.

Tove Lo seemed to reach out and touch each spectator with her relatable lyrics about coming of age — lyrics we had all sung wholeheartedly at some point over the past 10 years.

She finished out her encore with one last song, “No One Dies From Love,” made a heart with her hands and skipped off the stage.

For fans who just couldn’t get enough, the venue played “Habits (Stay High)” on the speakers as the lights came up. Even though we had heard the song live fewer than five minutes prior, we sang and danced along as we filed outside after Tove Lo’s unforgettable performance.

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