What are pop sensibilities, anyways? You know them when you hear them, and there was plenty of pure pop pleasure on display when the Twin Shadow and Niki And The Dove tour hit Webster Hall last night.
Niki And The Dove were plenty charming at their New York debut at Brooklyn’s tiny Glasslands Gallery this summer. However, the Swedish duo is meant for a bigger stage, and this tour is giving them the opportunity to stretch their legs and reach the American audience they deserve. Malin Dahlström and Gustaf Karlöf call their sound “flamboyant pop,
” and they say it best themselves. “DJ, Ease My Mind,” the undeniable breakout song from debut LP Instinct was legitimately chill-inducing live, dark and resplendent. They closed their set with “The Drummer,” a track so catchy that Twin Shadow himself couldn’t help but make an early entrance onstage to join the duo for part of the song.
Let’s get this out of the way: Twin Shadow, aka George Lewis, Jr., has to know that he can nail that combination of getting people to both want to be him and be with him. The singer/novelist says things like, “I’m a good-looking guy, so there’s an attractive male on the cover of my record.” There was a Vice article dedicated to asking people whether or not they would have sex with him. A life-size cardboard cutout of Lewis stands guard over his merch stand, ready for fans to pose with. He’s the kind of person who can saunter onstage holding a bottle of Veuve Clicquot like it’s no big deal. (Is he on Instagram? If not, he should be.)
But he has the songwriting skills to back up the fit-but-you-know-it confidence, which he made clear on swoon-worthy sophomore album Confess. Live, his brand of dream-pop translates with an even richer and fuller sound, like on Confess lead single “Five Seconds” and “When We’re Dancing” from 2010’s Forget. “Run My Heart” gets injected with more plaintive emotion, lest you think Lewis is just a pretty face.
He popped the champagne before diving into an extended rendition of “Castles In The Snow,” toasting the audience. If he wants to toast himself as well, he should go for it.