Dark alt-pop singer, Tove Lo (Too-veh-loo), brought her emotive take on the pop genre to Denver’s Mission Ballroom Monday night. To prepare the crowd for an energetic night, Slayyyter opened with a range of bratty dance-pop tunes showcasing the highs and lows of pop music. The crowd was hyped up on Slayyyter’s performance, but Tove Lo’s energy was on another lever. The band took control of the crowd, which embarked on an emotional rollercoaster with the best of dance alt-pop and crying-in-the-club anthems. In other cities, Tove Lo might have been a bit too vulnerable, but for Denver, it was the perfect high.
The bratty dance pop subgenre Slayyyter explored during her opening performance was both energetic and shocking. Dressed in a leather and lace get-up, the music was infused with the same dark twists and rugged texture. Accompanied by a DJ, dance-pop instrumentals ranging from house to euro-dance accompanied Slayyyter’s impressive vocal performance. At the beginning of the show, onlookers refused to jump up and down while the singer shouted at the crowd, but by the end of the night, she finally won the crowd’s undivided attention.
Tove Lo is no stranger to Denver, she had no problems making Mission Ballroom her new home. She opened the show with dance floor hits, turning Mission Ballroom into a nightclub. “Attention Whore” featuring Channel Tres settled the crowd into the groove for the night. As Channel’s verse played rang out, Tove Lo strutted from left to right, posing for the crowd in a robotic, gold-plated suit of armor, totally embracing the attributes of an attention whore.
“Cool Girl” continued the party with a classic take on bassy electro-pop. While most pop artists take their time getting into the groove of a performance, Tove Lo flung herself into the crowd ready to bare it all from the start. “2 Die 4” stole the show with climatic drops sampling the 1972 hit “Popcorn” by Hot Butter and thumping bass synths. Lights flashed from behind showcasing a dangerous approach to love and pop music. Before the next section of the show began she asked the crowd, “Are you ready to dance tonight? Are you ready to cry tonight?” The crowd screamed with excitement and buckled up to embark on the rollercoaster.
While Tove Lo had no problem baring it all on the dance floor, she also experimented with earth-shattering ballads. “Moments” took a stripped-back approach with Tove Lo’s voice, soaring through the ballroom with only an accompanying guitar — a stark contrast from the driven 80s synth sounds previously playing. “True Romance” saw the Swedish singer-songwriter standing on top of a light machine, which shined from above and below the singer as a wind machine blowing her hair dramatically.
Clouds decorated the stage, creating a storm for Tove Lo to move through. As her voice soared through the ballad, the sub-bass grew more intense, moving the weathering storm. Deemed “Queen of the Clouds,” this is where Tove Lo shines — amongst the storm. Her voice ached and brokewhile crowd stood in amazement as she taught the ballroom what it really meant to be vulnerable.
Emotively, Tove Lo bore it all with no shame. She took being vulnerable to the physical sense during her performance of, “Talking Body,” which she used as an excuse to flash the crowd. While this isn’t new behavior for Tove Lo, Denver fans stood in shock and admiration at the singer’s dedication to being vulnerable in every facet. She even opened up about her eating disorder during “Grapefruit,” stating, “it took me a long time for me to write this song.” Fans stood by her side, singing along to the words and dancing through the hurt and pain.
The emotional rollercoaster ended on a high with “No One Dies From Love,” a hit from her 2021 album “Dirt Femme”. The 80s stadium anthem blared through the ballroom as fans danced, sang and watched in awe at the compelling performance.
Pop music isn’t always bubbly and shiny. Tove Lo proves pop music can be an emotive way to weather the storm of life. She made pop music something to take seriously by wrapping ideas about love, suburbia and body issues in catchy hooks and 80s synths.