The Royal Concept @ Gramercy Theatre 11-21-13

the royal concept balloons

New York, quite simply, got Goldrushed. Swedish electro-indie group, The Royal Concept, stopped by Gramercy Theatre in New York City this Thursday, mined us for all the happiness and dancing we were worth, then abandoned us for their next tour date on their second U.S. tour, accompanied by American Authors and MisterWives.

They eased the crowd in to their upbeat set with the self-titled track off their upcoming debut album, “Goldrushed”. It was clear we were in for some shimmery synths, catchy choruses and sexy vocals. And of course, a hell of a good time with a sound that takes the best from Swedish electronic music and blends it with more indie sensibilities (for fans of MGMT, Phoenix, and Daft Punk).

“I’d rather be a ticking bomb than a fading light” – a line from “Shut The World” – accurately sums up the high quality of energy brought to their music and performance. The energy was relentless, a product of each member’s personality realized on stage. Povel on drums kept things moving along with an observant eye and a quick smile. Filip, though more drawn inward, provided the dulcet guitar riffs. Magnus, “the fox” of the group (he says so himself), was clearly a natural at drawing attention, even behind the keys. And David – the voice of the band – brought vocal intensity and maybe a bit of sexual frustration through his slightly slurry and breathy enunciation. He also, rather skillfully, switched between the vocoder (that layers the voice) and the regular mic on songs like “World On Fire”.

A particularly fun moment for the crowd was when they launched into their Daft Punk cover “Digital Love” which even sampled a bit of their own track “World On Fire” as well as “Get Lucky”. They treated us to a few songs off of Goldrushed midway through the set: the poppy, heart-broken “Girls Girls Girls” and the more homesick and balladic “Cabin Down Below”.

The highlight of the show for me was the back-to-back performance of “D-D-Dance” and “Gimme Twice”. Before the show, the band took some time to chat with me (listen here), and David expressed the balance for which they strive in writing music: “We’re trying very hard to write catchy music that’s still intelligent”. That is perfectly achieved in “D-D-Dance” which starts right off with an aureate guitar hook, and peaks with the uplifting and meaningful chorus “D-D-Dance dance dance ‘till you get it right” – keep moving and trying and you’ll eventually get to where you need to be.  With “Gimme Twice” that afore-mentioned sexual tension pretty much maxed out. Especially during the bridge: “I just wanna lay down/ Come on lay down” when David thought it an opportune moment to strip off the ol’ leather jacket. Yes. Girls screamed.

Unsurprisingly, they saved their most saccharine song for last, the gilded “On Our Way”. David characterized this song as about being “young and dumb”, just cutting loose and living in the moment.

The Royal Concept may have mined us for all our joy, but they didn’t leave us empty-hearted; we left with that emptiness, that wonderful emptiness you feel after a rush of ecstasy that makes you realize your potential for happiness, your quarry of euphoria. And it’ll keep you coming back, digging for more.

– Sydne

Listen to our interview with The Royal Concept here!

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