WATCH: Robyn last night at South Side Music Hall

Robyn escaped the machinations of other pop divas by giving all to her songs instead of distracting with over-abundant choreography and gimmicky tricks. Of course, South Side Music Hall is a smaller venue and likely no pop performer there will have that much trickery behind their show, but nonetheless. She thrusted her voice and body into every song turning her concert into a cardio workout and a ferociously unforgettable experience.

Tearing through hits like “Dancing on My Own” and “Fembot,” Robyn was spot on with attitude and moxie. Her voice at times was thin, but this audience didn’t care as the crowded house pumped their arms in the air and danced completely out of their personal spaces. Robyn commanded the way many veteran divas do. But don’t think Madonna, think Janis Joplin.

The gays were en masse and so were the gals while the straight guys tweeted about being the only ones in the audience. But with everyone dancing and grooving as one cohesive unit, none of that mattered. She finished her just-shy-of-two-hour set with a couple of encores including “Hang with Me” and ultimately. a sort of deconstructed “Show Me Love.” With her hands in the air forming a heart  and mouthing “I love you,” clearly she felt the love this audience gave her all night. She earned it.

Diamond Rings performed a solid set despite a shaky start. Sound issues kept popping his mike but he pretty much shrugged it off and continued his almost hourlong set. Finally catching his groove, he rocked the guitar, keyboards and strange dance performance art schtick. The tall, lanky Canadian won big time with the crowd giving a show with the panache of a veteran. Plus, as small of an act as he is, it was nice to see many in the audience singing along to his pop-rock sound.

We walked into Natalia Kills performing her dance pop which filled the South Side Music Hall with pounding bass any dance club should be jealous of. With some staged choreography and drive to be a bigger star, Natalia Kills worked the stage and growing crowd like a headlining drag queen.

Video shot by Greg Hoover.

—  Rich Lopez

Concert Notice: MEN at The Loft in April

Back in 2007 when their band Le Tigre was on hiatus, members JD Samson and Johanna Fatemen created the side project MEN. The magazine Sentimentalist describes them best: “Anthemic, synth-heavy dance beats team up with fiery topics from sexual freedom to wartime economies to both queer lifestyle and pleasure politics in MEN’s cathartic songs like ‘Who Am I to Feel So Free?,’ making them the perfect band to open tours for The Gossip and Peaches in America, in addition to doing their own headlining stints in the U.S. and overseas.”

And headlining they will be come April 1 touring in support of their upcoming February release Talk About Body. Fatemen is less a member and more a contributing writer to the band, but the out Samson, center, holds down the fort and brings her activist gay party perspective to the alt-dance pop side project. I mean, just check out this video for the single “Off Our Backs.” Pretty gay … and hot.

Tickets are $10 now and $12 at the door.

—  Rich Lopez

UPDATE: Scissor Sisters AND Semi-Precious Weapons to open for Lady Gaga in March

When I mentioned Semi-Precious Weapons’ solo show coming to Dallas later this month, they were still on the tour calendar of Lady Gaga’s Monster Ball tour and set to play her follow-up show in March. Clearly, that has changed. Scissors Sisters is in and SPW is out. SS posted the heads-up about joining her on the tour on their site here.

As I’ve said, SPW is better in a smaller venue, but SS could really knock this one out. I think they are much better match and could fill the arena pretty damn well with their own dance pop sound.

Lady Gaga plays American Airlines Center March 14.

UPDATE: Well, OK, then. Clearly a breakdown in communication. And props to commenter Jimmy for staying on top of it. We had initially received word that Scissor Sisters would be the 2011 support for Gaga and that SPW was her 2010 opener (read my comment below). SPW’s rep Lisa Taylor at 42 West reached out to clarify and confirm that SPW is sticking with the Monster Ball tour and thus is on the bill. They are confirming with LiveNation that everyone is on the same page. So it looks like we’re all good now and the best part, audiences get a triple bill out of it.

—  Rich Lopez