Until my friend Patrick messaged me the other week, asking if I wanted to go see her perform live in Sydney, I had only a vague knowledge of Swedish pop star, Robyn. In the intervening period, I visited her myspace and listened to a few songs which I thought were really quite good. It was then I remembered having heard her song “With Every Heartbeat” sometime earlier on the radio. I also chatted with my half-Swedish colleague, Carrie who told me a little about her history as a Swedish child-star. Having now seen her perform live, I’ve become quite a fan of Robyn.
As we entered the uber-cool Oxford Art Factory in what was the old Central Station Records on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, we looked around the room, wondering who else would be interested in seeing a relatively unknown (in Australia at least) Swedish pop star. “Oh look, there’s a girl with a Robyn t-shirt”, Patrick noted. “Oh and there’s a guy with a Sverige t-shirt”, I noticed. “And there’s some kids who are clearly doing the HSC this year, they looked so young. And there’s a few gay boys. And there’s a really weird looking emo-girl…”, we continued to observe. Quite the diverse group, we thought to ourselves, as we found ourselves a spot on the dance floor right up the front near the stage.
It was then I wondered how dodgy I must have looked as an almost forty-two year old balding man in a room full of people young enough to be my children (with the exception of Sam and Pat). Had I been someone else I would have assumed I was either a letchy old bloke, a drug dealer, or maybe an undercover police officer looking to make a drug bust. And although one of the bouncers questioned me as I walked in, the crowd was incredibly warm and friendly and I didn’t feel that way at all, although I did try to keep my “old man dancing” within a respectable level.
No, this was a crowd of dedicated Robyn fans. With one or two exceptions, we were surrounded by people who knew every single word of every single song. And as Robyn sang, they sang along with her in a really joyous celebration of her music.
In response, she sang with wonderful levels of energy, enthusiasm and passion I’ve rarely seen on stage. She sings well, she dances well, and she really connects with the audience, looking many people directly in the eyes. Likewise, her band played with an incredible degree of proficiency and enthusiasm. Honestly, it was one of the best live gigs I’ve ever seen.
Most memorable on the night was the emergence from backstage of an elderly Swedish-looking couple. “Ah she’s brought her mum and dad with her”, I said to Pat. We both agreed she was obviously a nice person as well.