When Swedish recording artist Tove Styrke took the stage at the Moda Center early on Saturday night, most Lorde-eager Portlanders didn’t seem to know what to expect. But by the end of her set, she had most of the slowly-filling arena on their feet, clapping and swaying to her electro beat.
Stryke, dressed all in red, danced all over the stage. She performed recent hit singles like “Say my name”, and a few old favorites from her first self-titled album and her sophomore album, Kiddo. All in anticipation of the May release of her third album, Sway.
Her electropop vibe perfectly primed the crowd for New Zealand pop sensation Lorde to take the stage, but the perfect transition was disrupted by hip hop duo Run The Jewels too-loud, too-vulgar set that went on for far too long.
Once she made it on stage, Lorde captivated audiences with her big voice, minimalist production style, and ethereal dance crew. She opened with a dramatic rendition of “Sober” off her album Melodrama, and encouraged her fans to let loose and dance from the very beginning of the show.
“I never know what day it is because I’m on tour, but what I know about Saturday’s is that you get to dance pretty hard. Are you gonna dance with me tonight Portland?”
And dancing kept the show alive. Through every song, Lorde danced like no one was watching. (The way we have all danced to the songs on Melodrama, an iconic breakup album.) Although her passionate thrashing and kicking often felt like it took up the whole stage, her wild energy was often contrasted by the trained, graceful energy of her dance crew.
The vibe in the arena was atypical-- less like a pop concert for 20,000, more intimate and churchy. She told stories about her writing process in between her songs, and talked about jotting down her thoughts in the middle of the night and sitting alone at her piano. She laughed and reminisced about the bouncy floor at the Crystal Ballroom, her very first performance in Portland years ago.
Her setlist took the audience on a journey from her 2013 hit “Tennis Court” , “The Louvre” to a series of slower, more emotional songs like “Writer in the Dark” a heartfelt cover of Frank Ocean’s “Solo”, to timeless higher tempo hits like “Royals”, “Green Light”, “Perfect Places” and “Team” which she ended her show with.