Kelis and Robyn Rock Day-Glo at Webster Hall

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Published August 9, 2010

                                                                           PHOTOS BY KOLORED

Super-fierce songstresses Robyn and Kelis played the final show of their All Hearts Tour at Webster Hall last week, and bold fashion choices were, as ever, the order of the evening: we spotted one concertgoer in line wearing a homemade feathered headdress; and Kelis herself wore a glitter-spangled wig, a skintight teal bodysuit, and glow-in-the-dark nail polish (if you’re reading, Kelis, where can we get some?). Robyn favored a structured bra top with high-waisted, flowered, tapered pants–somehow, this totally worked on her.

Opener Dan Black got in on the kooky-attire action, as well: he wore an orange tank top with an asymmetrical black vest, and huge slashes of face paint across his cheeks. Black, who was just nominated for two MTV Video Music Awards, declared himself “the luckiest boy in the world” to be able to play with the two illustrious headliners. His vocal style, set against funk-infused electropop, straddles the border between singing and speaking; the music sounds like exactly the sort of pop/hip-hop/electronic hybrid that catches on in Europe before it does Stateside, and we’d wager to guess that’s what will happen to him. Between songs, he favors the word “stupid”—as in, “Show me how fucking stupid you can all be!”  He means it as a compliment.

When Kelis took the stage, she demanded that the audience repeat a long and solemn pledge, beginning, “I came here for one purpose: to dance,” and ending with a chant, drawn from the intro to her album Flesh Tone: “We control the dance floor, we control the dance floor.” Oddly cultlike opening aside, her set was tight and energetic, and she was clearly in her element: the crowd responded wildly to girl-power anthems “Brave” and “Get Along with You.” Our favorite part, though, were her medleys: mashing up “Milkshake,” the song she’s probably still best known for, with Madonna’s “Holiday” was a clever way to breathe new life into a song she’s probably sick of singing. And Soul II Soul’s “Back to Life” plus Kelis’s own “Got Your Money” and “Acapella” made some kind of perfect, twisted sense.

As for Robyn: the rumors of her stage presence have not been exaggerated. She did a full booty dip before opening with “Fembot,” the summer jam of every feminist I’ve consulted, and powered straight through into “Cry When You Get Older,” following up the lyric “I start out with good intentions but mess it up like all the time” with the adorable adlib: “And it’s true; I do!” It’s a treat watching Robyn perform: she shimmies, vogues a bit, occasionally pretends to make out with herself, and throws her elbows every which way, grinning all the while. The set was a fairly equal split between this summer’s Body Talk Part I (“Dancehall Queen,” “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What to Do”) and her 2005 self-titled release (“Be Mine,” “Who’s That Girl,” “With Every Heartbeat”), and every song was met with ecstatic cheers. At the end of her set, Robyn offered her gratitude: “This is the last show of the tour,” she explained sweetly. “And you guys are making it all worthwhile.”