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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 19 November 2018

Review: Demi Lovato roars and Tove Lo on point at RedfestDxb

Demi Lovato and Tove Lo brought to an end a successful, if slightly chaotic, fourth edition of RedfestDxb on Saturday night.
Tove Lo performing at RedFestDxb 2017. Courtesy RedFestDXB
Tove Lo performing at RedFestDxb 2017. Courtesy RedFestDXB

Demi Lovato and Tove Lo brought to an end a successful, if slightly chaotic, fourth edition of RedfestDxb on Saturday night.

Lovato delivered a storming set that was fortunately all about the performance, rather than the weather.

She rounded off the two day festival that also featured sets by pop crooner Mike Posner and British soul man Calum Scott.

The turbulent weekend weather that wreaked havoc across the country had forced organisers to push back the festival’s second day from Friday to Saturday.

Fortunately, all the main headliners agreed to stick around for the extra day, though the running times were tweaked to end the night a little earlier than planned, at about 10pm, as the younger members of the crowd had to be up for school the next day.

This was Lovato’s first show for two months, and she was definitely amped for the occasion. Backed by her six piece band, the show was bright, colourful and slightly brash.

While the cracking musicians did their job in reproducing the dance and rock stylings that propelled Lovato to success, how much you enjoyed her set depended on your response to her voice.

It is not a subtle instrument – her slightly nasal and helium-filled vocals can thrill, such as in the dramatic Heart Attack and the brilliant pop of Cool for the Summer, or bludgeon, as was the case in the overwrought Kingdom Come.

It was nevertheless a committed performance with big production values - there was impressive lighting and some pyrotechnics - that warranted the honour of festival-closer.

Tove Lo delivered a welcome slice of attitude to the day. Perhaps, the “coolest” artist at the festival, her set oozed tight, Swedish concision.

Her three-piece band, two drummers and keyboardist, conjured up her dark and claustrophobic sounds to broody perfection.

Lo’s sparkling soprano vocals acted as an exciting counterpoint to all that sonic dread, her jazzy tones and quirky plays on word made Talking Body and Lady Wood festival high points.

Earlier, Mike Posner delivered a solid sunset show. The timing was apt, with the 28-year-old’s mellow voice comforting as the darkness descended.

Thankfully, there was enough musical muscle in his backing band, which included guitar, keyboards and saxophone, to ensure the set did not become a snooze-inducing affair.

On his recordings, Posner operates within an R&B sound, but he is much looser on the stage. This is a good thing - the tropical sounds of Please Don’t Go and the affecting Be As You Are show he might have a few Paul Simon and Wallflowers albums in his collection.

The only downside was Posner’s new-age sermonising through out the set. He demanded “a commitment from the crowd” to enjoy themselves before subjecting them to what seemed like an endless stream-of-consciousness spoken-word poetry that sapped all the energy of set-closer I Took A Pill in Ibiza.

sasasaeed@thenational.ae