Tove Styrke, The Tropics and GNTLMN Light Up popscene at The Rickshaw Stop


Friday night, Popscene once again took over The Rickshaw Stop in the Civic Center for a night of high energy pop. Tove Styrke headlined, representing Sweden’s exploding pop music ecosystem and was joined by locals The Tropics, and LA’s GNTLMN. As always, Popscene’s Aaron Axelsen was on hand to spin new music between sets.

I need to make a quick disclosure. On Friday, I was in the middle of a terrible cold, and the only way I could rally to get to the show was to shove my face full of DayQuil™ washed down with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale™. So for me, everything was weird, slightly shiny and mildly drowsy.

The night started out with GNTLMN, an electronic duo who got the party started with synth beats paired with guitar and smooth vocals. This was their first show here in SF, although I think they mentioned they had played here as part of other acts.  I missed part of the set due to the afore mentioned cold, but from what I saw I liked. They managed to build a dynamic sound for a duo and started the night out right.

Next up was local act The Tropics. I have written about this local five piece several times in the past and it seems like every time I see them they are more polished and have a more diverse catalogue of songs. Singer Claire George is full of energy and commands attention to the center of the stage. Playing pop with shades of folk and indie rock, several people I talked to at the show commented on what a great show they put on.

Tove Styrke took the stage around midnight wearing an outfit that took me back to pictures of Eddie Vedder at the height of Seattle grunge. Tove Styrke is one of the many female vocalists out of Scandinavia right now making a name for herself on the international stage. It’s no secret among my friends that I am borderline obsessed with the music coming out of Sweden right now, so there was no way I was going to miss this show. Compared to acts like Elliphant, Tove Lo and , her beats can seem a little basic but her lyrics are powerful and complex.

The biggest reaction from the crowd came when she played her current single “Borderline.” The song is excellent, mixing electronic beats with a hint of Caribbean dancehall, creating a blend that it is impossible not to dance to. I am definitely expecting some more big singles out of Tove Styrke in 2015 and beyond.