Standing in the Enmore Theatre in Newtown Sydney, it’s hard to imagine that this is Royksopp’s first Australian visit. Even harder to believe that they have been around since 1998. The Norwegian electronic duo consisting of Svein Berge and Torbjorn Brundtland hail from Tromso and are part of the travelling circus that is the Big Day Out lineup. Royksopp have released four albums: Melody A.M, The Understanding, Junior and Senior, with many collaborations that have included the vocal talents of Anneli Drecker, Karin Dreijer Andersson, Robyn and Lykke Li. Add this to countless remixes for bands like Coldplay (cough) and even turning down Britney (good call!) and we have a world class act.
As the lights dim prior to Royksopp’s entrance it’s clears there’s a much older crowd here tonight but this does not mean any less passion. A huge roar erupts as darkness descends into the theatre and suddenly they appear in costume no less, flanked by a guitarist and bass player. The last time I had seen them was at Glastonbury 2003 without additional musicians and they were an absolutely highlight then. This time, a sonic wall of noise swelled as they began the show with “Alpha Male”. It’s a slow burning number and when it finally unleashes the crowd are already dancing. This was going to be 90 minutes of feet moving with flailing arms and no, I’m not describing a zumba class.
Royksopp next hit us with “Happy Up Here”, “Eple” (once brilliantly remixed by 2manydjs) and “Remind Me”, and with that comes the first crowd fist pump moments and beaming smiles to boot. The duo have consistently experimented with various genres of electronica and you could say this about their costumes as well. We seem to be treated to a new elaborate outfit for everyone song we are witnessing. Robotic heads, a large flashing collar, a sandman mask and something appearing to be from Where The Wild Things Are provide us with with a visual spectacle.
Perhaps the greatest surprise was the female vocalist that they brought on the tour. She was able to reprise the role of Robyn perfectly for “Girl and The Robot”. “This Must Be It” follows and she continues to re-incarnate Royksopp’s female collaborators faithfully. The mysterious blonde would return for a version of “Only The Moment” as well, but it is “What Else Is There?” that is the true highlight. Brilliantly compelling and beautifully performed, she adorns the eccentric bird mask costume that The Knife made famous. Both songs were originally sung by The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson and tonight the vocals sound amazingly spot on. These songs prompt an immediate comparison to english group Goldfrapp. The set finishes were “Poor Leno” to loud and raucuous cheers from the crowd.
Royksopp provide an encore that can only be described as a mini-rave with strobe lighting at a max, dropping “Have Another Cherry” and “Fat Burner”. And with the final booming beats of the finale they were gone only for the crowd to chant for more and more. Unfortunately there would be no more. I’ve often wondered why they were never huge here as they are just as impressive as the Chemical Brothers with a strong catalogue. The Norwegian duo’s live set is much better and far more enthralling than one can imagine. Tonight they proved they are one of the best electro live acts going around and many a happy punter left the Enmore with the feeling of how lucky they were to witness Royskopp at the top of their game.
Perfect start to a Friday night in Sin City.
– Jefferson Chew