Review and Photos: Tove Lo puts sexuality above performance in Oakland

Tove Lo

Photos: Alessio Neri

OAKLAND — Tove Lo‘s set of relatable songs resonated for a couple hours afterward, but that is the biggest compliment one could give about her show at the Fox Theater Wednesday. If not for the suggestive dancing that accompanies the music, Lo’s set would have been forgotten sooner. It didn’t help her case that opener Phoebe Ryan’s set was stronger from start to finish.

The Swedish singer-songwriter performed songs from her two albums, Lady Wood and Queen of the Clouds. Many of the songs dealt with dependencies, sexual urges and insecurities.

She would occasionally ask attendees how they were doing or commanded them to get excited. During her hit “Bodies,” the singer flashed her breasts, drawing a loud cheer.

“People say I came out of nowhere,” Lo said immediately afterward, in a rare address to fans.

A solo rendition of “Imaginary Friends” followed and proved to be another fan-favorite. During “Flashes,” she sang about the pains she experienced as an artist. Following an hour-long set, Lo returned to sing “What I Want For The Night” while lying on the floor and thrusting her hips. Her biggest hit to date, “Stay High,” closed out her set.  This seemed to be the moment everyone was waiting for, gauging by crowd reaction.

Tove Lo’s performance resurrected the discussion about sexuality in female performance. Without her suggestive gestures, Tove Lo have gotten a reaction as intense as she did? Her singing was adequate but not extraordinary, and her sexuality seemed to collect the greatest reaction.

The better performance came from Texas indie singer-songwriter Phoebe Ryan, whose down-to-earth stage presence was polar opposite to Lo’s. Ryan performed tracks off her 2015 debut album, Mine, as well as crowd-pleasing covers of “Ignition” by R. Kelly and “All We Know,” with her collaboration with The Chainsmokers.

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