Gig Review: Tove Lo at the Metro Chicago

As the impromptu karaoke of *NSYNC’s “Tearin Up My Heart” was abruptly cut off and the lights flipped to black, the energy in the sold-out Metro Chicago was crackling as we waited for the aptly dubbed “VH1 You Oughta Know Artist” to hit the stage.

Anticipations rose even higher as a story told in voice over pulsed through the speakers, pumping the crowd to maximum excitement for a minute and a half before the Swedish pop princess finally bounded onto stage. I remember someone remarked that the stage seemed a little empty, with just a mic stand up front and two drumsets and a circle of synths set way back leaving the majority of the stage open, but the reason became quite clear the moment Tove Lo exploded onto the stage. Clad in an all black getup of jeans, a croptop and a badass leather jacket (but no shoes in sight), she bounced from left to right to center all while passionately belting out the lyrics to “My Gun” – the first song of the set and also the first song on her recently released debut album “Queen of the Clouds.” And while her album is structured in a very deliberate way – flowing from The Sex to The Love to The Pain – Tove Lo’s setlist bounced around just as much as she did, even including a few songs from her EP “Truth Serum”.

Tove Lo // Photo: Liz Sebastian

Tove Lo // Photo: Liz Sebastian

After immediately jumping into “Paradise,” the crowd was given a moment to breathe while the beaming entertainer took a sip of water then assured us tonight she “wasn’t on drugs, just in love” – her cue to the band to begin the next song “Not on Drugs.” She then went on to perform some of the more passionate and personal songs from her repertoire including “Over,” “Love Ballad,” “Moments,” “Out of Mind,” and “The Way I Am.” It was quite obvious to anyone in attendance that not only was she feeding of the high energy of the room but she was also laying all of her heart on the floor to share with her obviously enamored fans. With the number of shows I have been to, I think it says quite a lot when I say that I don’t think I have been to a show where the give and take between fans and performer has been quite that intense. The love was highly felt on both ends.

After the emotional exchange the bulk of the show produced, Tove Lo rounded out the end of her set with three of her songs from “The Sex” portion of the album – “Talking Body,” “Like Em Young,” and after a short outro to match her eerie intro, “Timebomb.” And while these were slightly more fun topics (my personal favorite “Talking Body” having a chorus that starts “well if we’re talking body, you’ve got a perfect one so put it on me”), they were performed and received with no less passion that the previous slew of songs.

After a short time off stage, Tove Lo popped back out to give us one last dance party with “Run On Love” and of course the most anticipated moment of the evening – “Habits (Stay High).” With these being the last of the night, everyone in the audience as well as on stage gave it their all – rocking the Metro in a way I am lucky to have witnessed.