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Icona Pop live at Commodore Ballroom


by Irene Lo

The last show of Icona Pop’s Iconic Tour wasn’t meant to take place in Vancouver this past Saturday. With Aino Jawo coming down sick in September, however, tour dates were reshuffled so that the west leg of the tour was pushed back to December. The news was a blessing in disguise because the back-and-forth energy at the show was positively euphoric.

Opening for Icona Pop was K.Flay, a Stanford graduate-turned-rapper. Most noticeably recognized for being a white girl rapper, K.Flay commanded the audience during her set. Of course that might have to do with the venue’s strict no re-entry policy, but K.Flay was confident, not particularly into smiling, with a rapping style similar to Lady Sovereign’s fast and grimy approach. Performing tracks like “Rawks” from her What If It Is EP that came out this August, K.Flay was joined on stage with a live drummer and a DJ drumming away in synch. The beats K.Flay are drawn to are tough and edgy, like the kind of music Michael Bolton would rap to in Office Space, so it’s not too much of a leap when rock ‘n’ roll snuck into her hip-hop performance. Taking a page out of the rock ‘n’ roll book, heavy jamming, head-banging and strobe lighting were all used for a badass effect.

During the half hour delay between K.Flay and Icona Pop, the open floor was crammed with people ready to cheer, stomp, and chant, as was the case whenever promising signs, such as the dimming of the lights, led them to exhibiting all of the above with no inhibition. After numerous false starts, Swedish pop sensation Icona Pop came on stage in matching futuristic dresses, the belles of the ball.

“They say you’re a freak when we’re having fun, say you must be high when we’re spreading love, but we’re just living life…” sang Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo in “We Got the World”, the opening number to an hour-long’s worth of EDM-kissed pop. “In the Stars”, “Ready for the Weekend”, and “On a Roll” were performed, one song after another in the vein of their global hit “I Love It” – songs that celebrate the moral good in being young and out of control.

Some of the best songs live were “Girlfriend” and “Then We Kiss”, what with the kazoo being broken out by Hjelt in the latter, and the ovaries before brovaries vibe in the former, they made the show memorable beyond a sweaty dance fest. Hjelt and Jawo looked happy to be on stage, although dialogue between them and the audience was limited. Jawo, prone to breaking out in big, beautiful smiles, was more animated when addressing the crowd. Hjelt, in contrast, was polite, holding out her hand to fans at the end of the night.

Saving “I Love It” for the encore, Icona Pop delivered the high-octane fun promised in their songs. Touring with Miley Cyrus and then Katy Perry on their world tours in the upcoming year, things are only blowing up for the pop duo.

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