Tove Lo hobbled into MTelus on the night of Saturday February 15th in a walking boot on one crutch, after breaking her ankle performing a few days before in New York. With a “show must go on” mentality, she powered through in Montreal. It’s amazing to see performers push past these injuries and put on a killer show. My memory goes to Dave Grohl a few years back when he played the Foo Fighters tour with a broken leg. In this case, it was even more impressive because so much of Tove Lo’s live performance relies on dancing and moving around on stage, the fact that she pushed forward and even delivered a show is a testament to her character and work ethic.
ALMA (Helsinki, Finland) opened the night with both legs and no apparent ailments, though her voice did come off a little raspy. Nothing overly serious it just seemed like wear and tear on the VOX from heavy touring. Aside from that, ALMA was out there for the fucking party, hyping the crowd while previewing her soon to be released debut album. A lot falls on the frontwoman when backed only by a DJ but ALMA had zero issue grabbing the stage by the balls and making it her bitch. Her lead single “Bad News Baby” is all you need to hear to get a sense of ALMA’s demeanour, or “swag” for you hipper folk. Twenty years old with bright green hair, ALMA is out to get recognized; “I’m a bad news baby, you can hear me on the radio, I’m a bad news baby, you can see me everywhere you go.” Tove Lo made a huge mark in 2014 with her crass, in your face debut Queen of the Clouds and I fully expect ALMA to do the same when her record drops later this year.
Tove Lo limped to centre stage as an injured queen would limp to her throne. She opened with the tracks “Glad He’s Gone” and “Bad as the Boys;” typical of Tove Lo whose songs consistently teeter between heartbreak and badass anthemic party bangers. “Glad He’s Gone” is the perfect example of what I love so much about Tove Lo, a very soft and emotional pop track with lyrics so bold and shocking that Peaches may be the only other artist I can think of that would go there, “Did you go down on his birthday? Yup. Did you let him leave a necklace? Yup. Or did you show him all your crazy? No. Blow him up on the weekends, hmm.”
Without a doubt some of the live show was compromised with the lack of mobility, but Tove Lo gave everything she had and invited ALMA on stage a couple of times to share vocals, notably on “Bad as the Boys,” a track that she recorded with ALMA as guest vocalist.
Tove Lo acknowledged that this was her first time headlining in Montreal and was humbled at how fast it sold out. The crowd obliged by throwing a fuck ton of energy towards the stage. I saw some girls standing on the tables of the balcony at MTelus; that was a first! On “Talking Body” Tove Lo did her best striptease, about as good as you can do in a walking boot. “Moments” was an unexpected bright spot as Tove Lo sheepishly admitted she wasn’t great a piano but slayed the track, stripped down with just keyboards.
There were a few points, especially through the middle of the set that really could have benefitted from a Tove Lo on two legs and that was unfortunate. On the other hand, she could have cancelled the show and it would have been understandable as well, but Tove Lo gave absolutely everything she could and scored mad points for simply getting through this one. Plus… she’ll be back this summer at Osheaga, probably fully healed, right? (How long do ankles take to heal? Fuck if I know I’m a writer, not a doctor.) I’m gonna say she’ll be fine, and I can’t wait.
Written by Lee Ferguson
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Danielle Kenedy