wed 29/06/2022

MØ, Heaven, London review - snappy, sexy and energised | reviews, news & interviews

MØ, Heaven, London review - snappy, sexy and energised

MØ, Heaven, London review - snappy, sexy and energised

Danish pop star plays a tight set to a devoted partisan crowd

Recalibrating pop her own way

“I live to survive another heartache/I live to survive another mistake,” roars a sold-out Heaven. It’s a new song but everyone seems to know it. It’s not MØ’s most famous song but is the bluntest monster banger of the night, crunching four-to-the-floor club-pop that brooks no argument. It’s the last of the set (prior to an encore) and MØ is now a perspiring ball of energy.

She’s clad in a white vest top, black shorts, and leather effect chaps, their ties flapping everywhere, as are her two red-auburn pigtails. Then she hurls herself into the crowd and continues the song born aloft, lying on her back.

The Danish pop star is supported by a three-piece band, drums, guitar, bass, synths, a rock set-up, and the set switches between a variety of styles, from the bullish Oasis-style strummed guitar stomper that is “Blur” to sparse electronic balladry such as new song “Wheelspin”. She’s as famed for her collaborations as her own material, having guested on songs by everyone from Iggy Azalea to Charli XCX, but much of the set is from her recent album, Motordrome. This did not chart in the UK but the songs are greeted like old friends. Clearly she has a strong cult fanbase (sweetly, her merch stall even sells berets she's crocheted).

I initially underestimated Motordrome, reckoning it lacked oomph, but the energy is there alright, just not on the shiny surface. That’s the whole point. As with the album, the show sees MØ partly re-engaging with her pre-fame indie-punk origins, especially on the heartfelt “Punches”, a number that explicitly states a longing to reconnect with her original muse, and ends in an appropriate guitar squall. But MØ’s style is as much about the way she allows space and pace in her big pop, doesn’t overload it, a case in point being her performance of recent single “New Moon”.

She’s an undeniably sensual performer, petite and wriggly. She’s got the moves. In this, though, she emanates a guilelessness; uncalculated, raw, in-the-moment, rather than plasticised, jaded Insta-sexiness, even when she’s singing brashly about nicking someone’s girlfriend on “Nights With You”, a song that’s more lyrically innocent than her tone and movements make it sound. She also seems giddy with it all. “Thank you so much, London, she repeatedly says.

Her biggest number is the 2015 single “Lean On”, created with Major Lazer and DJ Snake. For a year or two it was Spotify’s most-streamed song of all time, and is still one of the most globally successful singles ever. It arrives mid-set and is greeted with uproar. A sea of phones is suddenly in the air, alongside hands doing the “fire a gun” bit of the chorus. MØ clambers on a mysterious bit of kit, stage-right, that looks, shadowed and from a distance, like an exercise bike designed by HR Geiger. I never figure out what it is.

There is a hefty rumble of floor-stamping before the encore and MØ comes back to sing “Don’t Leave”, originally released with UK production unit Snakehips. On record it’s one of her least likable, most bombastic EDM-flavoured tunes, but she plays it backed just by a strummed acoustic, successfully bringing out the angrily sweary love song at its core. A spin through catchy newie “Brad Pitt” and she closes, standing on the shoulders of the crowd, with her biggest solo hit, “Final Song”. “So don’t let this be our final song,” she pleads, ironically, because, of course, it is. Coming in at an hour-and-ten-minutes, the set has fizzed energetically by, tight and just right.

Below: Watch the video for "Live to Survive" by MØ

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