Years & Years, Seinabo Sey & Tove Lo Perform At VH1 & Palladia’s SXSW 2015 Showcase: Live Review

Bianca Gracie | March 19, 2015 9:17 am
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Our second day at Austin’s SXSW music festival was filled with fun highlights (March 18), and one of the events that stood out was VH1 + Palladia’s showcase at the Cedar Door! Hosted by Ingrid Michaelson, artists from all genres took the stage including Milky Chance, Robert DeLong and Elle King. But the performers that we waited for are familiar names here at Idolator: Years & Years, Seinabo Sey and Tove Lo.

Getting into the show was a headache of a hassle, as the line seemed to be at a standstill both outside the venue as well as inside (the snooty crowd who were just there for the free drinks didn’t help either). But once you finally stepped in to the concert’s green field, the pop performances definitely became worth the wait!

Years & Years had the shortest set, as they spent a long amount of time sorting out kinks with their sound. But their five-song performance highlighted just why they are one of the biggest artists to watch for 2015! The night marked their second official show in the United States, and the audience welcomed them with endless screams of approval. The UK electronic trio opened their set with their downtempo charmer “Take Shelter,” which led into a two-song acoustic set that included “Memo” off the Y & Y EP (released last month). The stripped down version found lead singer Olly Alexander at his most vulnerable, with his vocals sounding even more delicate than it does on the record. Years & Years then picked back up the energy with “King,” which had the crowd shimmying to every bright synth. One critique I would give is that the band needs more audience engagement and stage presence, but I’m sure they will find more confidence in a live setting as their career goes on.

Following was Swedish singer, Seinabo Sey! The chanteuse sauntered on the smoky stage in a black fringed outfit with her hair in a curly updo. Along with her sophisticated look, her poise while performing was reminiscent of R&B divas who have been wooing international audiences for decades. It was Sey’s first time at SXSW, but you would never be able to tell! From bold tunes like “Younger” to tender, personal ballads like “You,” she belted her soulful tracks with ease. Once her set was complete, it was clear that she had the audience in a trance.

Closing Palladia’s showcase was another Swede — Tove Lo! The singer bursted onto the stage with a fiery energy that quickly awakened the crowd (our legs were feeling like jello at this point). Donning a cheeky (literally) all-white outfit complete with bare feet and a fresh face, she ran through Idolator favorites like “Not On Drugs,” “Timebomb” and “Habits (Stay High).” One of Tove’s set highlights was her “Talking Body” performance, as she included a groovy dance mix towards the end of the song. The singer fed from the crowd’s vibe as she sassily lifted her short skirt many times, snagged a pirate’s hat from an attendee and danced throughout her entire set without being out of breath. If Tove Lo is coming to your city in the coming months, be sure to grab a ticket — you will definitely have a blast!

The setlists included:

Years & Years
“Take Shelter”

Seinabo Sey
“Pistols At Dawn”
“Hard Time”

Tove Lo
“My Gun”
“Not On Drugs”
“Got Love”
“Talking Body”
“Habits (Stay High)

Did you catch this SXSW showcase? Let us know in the comments below!

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.