To put what electropop act Niki and the Dove are currently doing into a box would be a difficult task. On the surface, it's comparable to the glam-y electronic pop of the 80s - the sort of stuff you might see the popular kids dancing to in a John Hughes movie. Beneath that, a tangled mess of dark undertones, mythological storytelling and abstract ideas.
Emotive in every sense of the word, much of Niki and the Dove's catalog consists of over-the-top, club ready dance anthems (as exemplified by hit "DJ, Ease My Mind,"), but their best, most sincere moments come in the tracks doused in feelings, a-la electro-anthems "The Drummer" or "The Fox."
When it comes to Dahlström, eccentricity would be an understatement. Though tailored in the stylings of a 1960s housewife, each piece worn by Dahlström is a statement - apop of color, an alternate pattern - that provides stark contrast to the white tee and slacks worn by the more reserved Karlöf. Framed by glittery accessories, a flower headdress and LED rings, Dahlström is a spectacle - bouncing from one side of the stage to the other, teasing the boys with her ability to make every female in the room move her hips.
Vocally, Dahlström seems a mix between Cindi Lauper and Florence Welch, tackling songs melodious and singable, yet just out of reach - the type you can easily keep up with in a sea of sweat and glitter, but not so easily sing along with.
In truth, Dahlström's performance is a spectacle all it's own: switching between two microphones - one standard, the other cued for a variety of audio manipulation - has Dahlström's vocals moving from sing-song to soulful grunt within seconds, having attentive listeners wondering, "can that voice - that coarse, man voice - be coming from Dahlström's frame?"
Aided by the theatrics on stage - Karlöf's thundering percussion doused in heavy, rolling synths and spacey keys - each note seemed more hungry, more driving, more progressive than the last.
It's worth noting that, though billed as a headlining show for Niki and the Dove, last night's crowd seemed just as excited to see opener Vacationer - whose full-length debut, Gone, holds spots on a number of "Best of 2012" lists.
Led by singer Kenny Vasoli (known also as bassist of The Starting Line), Vacationer's beach-ready chillwave proved an apt intro for the night - a vibe-y "Trip" in relaxation, driven by pulsing bass lines, trickling beats and feel good themes that proved the perfect way to start a Tuesday night.
Expect good things from this band in 2013, because come festival season, they're going to be one of the most talked about new members of the indie cool kids club.