Live Music + Gig Reviews

Röyksopp @ Brixton Academy, London

14 October 2005



The Spaceship Röyksopp lands upon the stage amid a smokey fog and eerie, extra terrestrial lights. As the stage is slowly revealed, however, it becomes clear that the Norwegian duo have taken the night off and sent a couple of members of Kraftwerk along to take their places instead.

Wearing bright red shirts, black ties and with their hair immaculately slicked into oil-black side-partings, Svein Berge and Torbjørn Brundtland do an extremely convincing impression of the German pioneers of electronic music. As soon as they launch into Röyksopp’s Night Out though, they betray their true identities, immediately dispensing with the anaesthetised stoicism associated with their Teutonic heroes in favour of indulging in some joyful exuberance.

The duo seem to be enjoying every second they spend on stage which acts as an elixir for the crowd too, far away from the lacklustre, motion-running habits that some acts fall into when playing live. Of course it could be all too easy for them to tire of airing material from first album Melody AM, which slept for so long before becoming a hit when it was released over four years ago, but their enthusiasm never falters.

At times they perform the older material straight, as with storming house number Poor Leno, but at others they blur the boundaries of the originals: Sparks gains a rampant, reggae slant while Remind Me has its pulse raised, turning into a guitar-hooked disco hit, heavily vocodered vocals successfully replacing Erlend Øye‘s lightly touching lament.

Of the other older material on offer, the much-loved Eple is well-received, its one-time ubiquity clearly having not damaged its appeal, while A Higher Place is overwhelmingly lush, with immense soul-shaking chords sweeping over the audience.

Material from latest offering The Understanding also features heavily, the singles Only This Moment, featuring Kate Havnevik‘s ethereal tones, and Chelonis R Jones‘ soulful rendition of 49 Percent going down particularly well.

It is harder to gauge the crowd’s response to the rest of the new album, though it’s certainly not indifferent so perhaps the same slow-burning swell of popularity and gradual osmosis into people’s psyche is taking place once again.

This process is aided by an LED screen above the stage displaying each track title and provides a nice touch for the encore too as strobe-fried retinas clear enough following Nok E Nok to be able to read the words ‘ONE MORE SONG????’ scrolling across the display. The crowd give an enthusiastic, collective ‘yes’ and are rewarded with So Easy. Its monastic chant may not manifest itself above the drums as perhaps it should but it still proves to be an uplifting end to a thoroughly engaging gig.

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More on Röyksopp
Röyksopp – Profound Mysteries
Röyksopp – The Inevitable End
Röyksopp – Senior
Röyksopp @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Röyksopp – Junior