Back in June 2011, we had the chance to interview Icona Pop around the time their first songs started to hit, notably “Manners.” Long, long before “I Love It” demolished the charts worldwide, hitting platinum in at least six countries and propelling the duo to the forefront as leading dance and pop chart makers, Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo met in Stockholm just after a break-up. They connected instantly, “It’s something with the energy you get from different people. I felt it with Caroline. I felt as it was meant to be.” Friday night at The Mid, the two showed this raw energy to the 800 people inside in what was easily Icona Pop at its core.
Chicago’s Avi Sic, a former KISS FM radio DJ, had the honor to open and close around the Swedes. Earlier on, her set was dominated by pop from Tove Lo’s “Habits (The Chainsmokers Extended Mix),” Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy,” and Charli XCX’s “Boom Clap” before growing more experimental, more comfortable. She snuck in “Safari Disco Club” from Yelle and slipped ODB’s “Got Your Money” in just after “Chandelier” from Sia. It just got better as she led into Phantogram’s “Fall In Love” with the classic oldie from the Chordette’s “Mr Sandman.” Completely unexpected, completely appreciated.
The heavy dread of “Sail” from AWOLNATION dragged down the pace as Aino and Caroline were setting up for the switch, generating a friction and tension that only intensified the anticipation. Aino in black instantly went to work setting up while Caroline and Avi Sic shared a moment, all three clearly seasoned, clearly connecting. Then right after, Icona Pop didn’t so much launch into their set, but leveled the Mid with the series of explosive beats behind “All Night.”
Icona Pop was just as comfortable in the Mid as they would be hopping around the archipelago of Stockholm, punching in unison, becoming entirely in sync with one another on a whole new level as they dipped into “Summer” from Calvin Harris. They would switch back and forth, borrow a girl’s hat, fire up Chicago before the CO2 guns cooled everything down. While they didn’t dip back into the ’50s, they did sneak in Gregor Salto’s “Madalena” in to truly bring a European feel to Fulton Market.
The set rightfully ratcheted up with “Girlfriend” and cruised into “Summertime Sadness” from Lana Del Rey. It was the perfect lay up right into their new single “Get Lost.” The new track was amplified in the Mid to its purest form, hitting the sweet spot of beat hypnotism before “I Love It” dropped to close the night. Though while Charli XCX didn’t come on out to sing, another rising pop star, Tove Lo, was reunited with her fellow Swedish artists on stage the night before her concert at the Metro. While Caroline and Aino may have just wrapped up their tour with Miley Cyrus, you admittedly couldn’t get better than Icona Pop at its origins DJing in the heart of Chitown.