5/24/14 – Brighton Music Hall

The Danish word you’re about to mispronounce, “MØ,” translates in English to something along the lines of “virgin to life.” MØ, the artist, embodies this word with an intense personality, which was just one side of her persona filling the Brighton Music Hall last Saturday night. The energy at the show was palpable as she performed songs from her debut album, No Mythologies to Follow; reenacted the etymology of the word “MØ”; and invigorated a crowd eager for her synth-roaring, beat-pulsing, and fire-spitting sound.

First, let me be clear: calling MØ a “virgin to life” is not a poetic way of saying that she’s extraordinarily inexperienced and naive, but a nod to the fact that she is ordinarily inexperienced, as, in her opinion, we all are. “That naive happiness, that child, is still there [inside us],” she told me hours before taking the stage, “we all have this, no matter how old we are… I hope.” Singing with her soul and dancing from her gut, MØ cultivates and maintains youthful naivety in her songs, recreated by the four musicians on stage (DJ, drummer, guitarist, and MØ). This was an 18+ show, which welcomed a pop-y crowd of exuberant 80s and 90s babies. I may have been the youngest one there, though I did not feel out of place in the slightest. And that’s just MØ’s point; everyone is searching for something, whether that be love, successful business endeavors, or a voice as mellifluous as the pigtailed singer herself. Releasing this natural impulse through music, through dance, through shared experience, is where MØ excels.

Disclaimer: “release” took many forms on Saturday. In the future, stay home if you’re one to appreciate music motionlessly or mutely.

The songs weren’t always up-tempo, despite their danceability, but they always left heads bopping, faces grimacing (in a good way), or bodies all-of-the-above-ing. The manufactured beats blended well with the live drum set, and off went tapping feet. Synth and guitar melodies caught clear and hummable moments, and there went scrunched faces. Simple chord progressions sounded new and refreshing as MØ’s tuneful voice and pumping fists worked up the audience like Victor Frankenstein galvanizing his connection-craving monster.

Complementing, in her words, the “youthful, energetic, and melancholic” music (emphasis on energetic), MØ’s stage presence propelled her performance throughout the concert and engaged the crowd. She was one of us, another audience member, dancing to her own rhythms with contagious ferocity and endearing lankiness. And then there was her off-stage presence: MØ broke the fourth wall four times by jumping into an ecstatic and respectful crowd. Four times. She climbed the bar opposite the stage. She centered an audience-made dance circle. She touched bodies and ignited youthful spirits.

While I danced to (with?) MØ I was reminded of something she had said before: that her actions reflect a “deeper level of persona,” or maybe something “even more banal.” “It’s more about letting go,” she had said. MØ’s power to excite her audience by “letting go” seems to run parallel to her artistic and personal goals, especially those of musical connection. MØ both lets go and convinces others to do the same. In such a mutual and natural high, she and her audience connect and music is made. I left Brighton Music Hall last Saturday feeling as though I contributed something to the act, but I know better; I know it was all MØ.

Music, Motion, and MØ
Pros
  • High energy (never a dull moment)
  • Good mix of prerecorded and live sounds (great sound in general)
  • Entertaining to watch, let alone listen to
Cons
  • Atmosphere not for everyone (don't go if you don't want to move)
  • Songs sounded similar at times
8.8Overall Score

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