Tove Lo at the O2 Ritz, Manchester - gig review

Rising star is finally back with first show since the release of her second album

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It would be an understatement to say that Tove Lo touring in the UK has been a long time coming.

Vocal cord surgeries, cancellations and illness have meant the Swedish singer-songwriter has only played a handful of live shows here, one being at the Deaf Institute almost three years ago.

Manchester is understandably excited that the rising star is finally back with her first show since she released either of her two albums.

Hit after hit or at least album highlight after album highlight ignite the first half of the set. 'True Disaster' taken from second release and the tour’s namesake Lady Wood is an electric opener and sees Lo sticking to what she knows best. 

Lo’s candid lyrics about sex and drugs are refreshing, but even her tamer, more conventional love songs pack a fiery punch.

'Not On Drugs' and 'Thousand Miles' are among a gold rush of tracks that see the whole production shine. 'Vibes', featuring band member Sol rather than the album’s Joe Janiak, brings something new to the table. Created on a Neon Gold Records songwriting retreat, while high on a boat in Nicaragua watching dolphins, the track captures an unrestrained sense of freedom.

'Got Love' lifted from debut Queen Of The Clouds is undoubtedly one of the set highlights, a hidden gem that sees Lo go for the pop jugular delivering an arena-ready performance complete with light display and her infallible live band.

Having toured with Maroon 5 and with dates coming up with Coldplay, Lo is no stranger to a bigger stage and with tonight sold-out, expect a venue upgrade when it’s time for her return. 

Stripping back 'Imaginary Friend', a song she wrote about believing in yourself despite the odds, we see the already honest singer-songwriter at her most vulnerable, playing solo. Following a quick costume change, Lo blasts through more tracks from Lady Wood. 

Trying to fit two albums worth of material into a set, in an effort to appease fans and retain your creative vision, must be difficult and despite a knock-out performance, Lo’s set still has its kinks. Chilled out Lady Wood lead 'Cool Girl' is a mission statement on record, but it doesn’t quite deliver live as it lacks the massive hooks that would be better suited at this end of the set. 

Meanwhile her breakthrough hit 'Habits' closes proceedings - the song which had the world talking about the girl who has her dinner in the bath before heading to her local sex club. But, it’s 'Talking Body' earlier in the night that has all the energy of a “one-more-song” encore.  

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