[LIVE REVIEW] MØ @ The Wonder Ballroom
It's always exciting and inspiring to see an artist pour out every last ounce of energy and absolutely leave it all on the stage. The other night at the Wonder, that's exactly what MØ did.
Last week, Karen Marie Ørsted (MØ) announced via her Facebook page that she would have to cancel her final three North American dates in Vancouver, Las Vegas, and Santa Ana. No explanation was given, but what it meant for her Portland fans was that our fair city would be the last American stop of this major tour for the Danish electro pop outfit. Let me say it now – fans in Vancouver, Vegas, and SoCal – I can promise you that MØ is not going to leave you hanging, and I'm sure she's got more than enough left for you next time she comes around.
From the beginning of the set opener “Maiden” she was erupting with energy, jumping and pumping, standing on the drum riser, edging as close to the end of the stage as possible without falling off, and gyrating furiously in spandex and Everlast gym pants. Several revolutions of hair-whipping and come-hither body moves came with it. It was sexy, and the crowd was into it.
After “Maiden” she launched straight into “XXX 88” - a definite highlight of the whole night for its punishing drum and bass pattern, and its infectious chorus. (It's a definite highlight of this year's No Mythologies to Follow as well, the first full length release by the band.) A couple of songs later, Ørsted climbed off stage and caroused and danced with the crowd for a while, and it wouldn't be the last time.
The main set culminated with the crowd pleaser “Walk This Way” - during which Ørsted strutted the length of the ballroom and jumped up on the bar at the back of the venue and slam-danced for a while. By the time she got back to the stage and launched into “Glass” the crowd was absolutely raucous, so, naturally, she decided to body surf for a while. I have to confess that while I've enjoyed listening to MØ's music, I was definitely not expecting this level of intensity and crowd engagement. She was up front and physical, and in your personal space, sweat, spit and all. It slayed.
After regaining her footing on solid ground, Ørsted left the stage to wait for the encore, which came more quickly than usual. She just seemed so excited to keep on playing for us! So she did. First was her incredibly popular cover of the Spice Girls' “Say You'll Be There” - and then “Don't Wanna Dance” which absolutely destroyed the once-docile crowd. Hipster man-buns came undone, thick-framed glasses came off, and we all just danced shamelessly. Halfway through, she unloaded a full bottle of water on her head and then threw the rest into the crowd. It was very Madonna-esque, and very awesome.
At the end of the night, a roadie came out with whiskeys for the band members to raise a glass and toast a tour well-run. Everyone on stage was genuinely appreciative, and the crowd just soaked it up. This was my first live experience with MØ. I absolutely would see her again, and recommend my friends to do the same. She loves her fans, she loves to perform, and she holds nothing back... That's increasingly rare, and all any music fan could ask for.