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Last Night

Röyksopp and Fans Get the Dance Party Started at The Wiltern

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Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 4:58 PM

click to enlarge TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
See more photos in Timothy Norris' slideshow "Röyksopp @ The Wiltern."

Near the end of Röyksopp's set at The Wiltern Tuesday night, Torbjorn Brundtland thanked the crowd, calling us "true fans." It was hard not to wonder what makes a "true" Röyksopp fan.

With some artists-- Lady Gaga, X Japan and Emilie Autumn immediately come to mind-- you can spot the diehards because they seem to take their fashion cues from their music heroes, either by dressing as them or by wearing outfits inspired by them. That's definitely not the case at a Röyksopp show.

Other times, you can identify the fans because they know every lyric to every song on the night's setlist, b-sides and new tunes included. Last night, the only time we heard a lot of people singing in unison was during "What Else Is There?"

click to enlarge TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris
At other shows, there are chants. X Japan fans cross their arms above their heads and shout "We are X." Duran Duran fans cheer for John Taylor during his bass solo. We didn't see anything like that at last night's Röyksopp show either.

I'm a Röyksopp fan. I saw the Norwegian duo play live before, not as part of an assignment, and consider the concert (with Basement Jaxx at the Hollywood Bowl) one of the best I've seen. If I were to compile a list of my favorite albums of the '00s, The Understanding would be on it. I've spent drives on the 405 listening to "What Else Is There?" on repeat. A lot of my friends are big on Röyksopp too, but there's no secret handshake that we know, no terms like "Little Monsters" or "Duranies" connecting us.

So what makes a Röyksopp fan? That's probably still up for debate.

What I can tell you is that Röyksopp draws a fairly eclectic crowd. Go to a concert and you'll see everyone from the teenaged to the middle-aged. There will be people dressed as though they are going to a rave and people who look like they just left the office. There's no connection to any particular scene, though you might be able to find a few people who are also fans of the groups whose vocalists have worked with Röyksopp (e.g. Bel Canto, Kings of Convenience, The Knife).

click to enlarge TIMOTHY NORRIS
  • Timothy Norris

Maybe if there's one strong connection between some Röyksopp fans, it's the need to dance. I can really only write in regards to the section where I was stationed, in the back of the first level of the venue, on the right side of the soundboard. In that small corner, there was a serious dance party. It was inevitable, after all, Röyksopp opened with "Eple," a solid dance track. I don't know if the people who started dancing all knew each other, or simply found each other based on a groove, but they built up an amazing sense of energy. Even when the band slowed the pace, they kept moving. The only times the dancing came to a halt were during a cover of "Wuthering Heights" (yes, the Kate Bush song and, yes, it was spectacular) and a slower, re-arranged rendition of fan favorite "What Else Is There?" with Anneli Drecker (Bel Canto) handling vocals originally provided by Karin Dreijer Andersson (The Knife, Fever Ray). As the show progressed, more people wandered over to the corner and more people began dancing. At various points in time, particularly during "Poor Leno," it felt as though it were 1:30 a.m. at a hot nightclub, not sometime before midnight in a concert venue.

We've spent a lot of time covering various aspects of fan culture, mostly in relationship to non-musical aspects of pop culture, and have seen a lot of elaborate and creative projects dedicated to the object of one's fanaticism. There's an element of that to Röyksopp as well, just check out the winners of the duo's video contest. At the same time, though, it is enough to go to a show, bring your good vibes and share it with everyone else around you.

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