Swedish hip-hoppers burn it down

**** (4 stars out of 6); May 18 at Loppen

Looptroop Rockers are Swedish hip-hop professionals. Around for two decades, Embee, Cosmic, Promoe and Supreme know exactly what to do on stage. Their performance at Loppen Friday night made that crystal-clear.

With a sold-out crowd, Loppen was already hotter than hell when Looptroop Rockers began to fire up the crowd. Standing by the left side of the stage – the best spot in the venue for anyone shorter than the average Dane – I saw the Swedish four make their way through the audience. ‘Egotrippin pt. 4’, from Embee’s debut album filled the room, while the Nordic hip-hoppers stepped-up to the stage. ‘Looking for Love’ began in a seamless transition. Looptroop Rockers had arrived.

The concert was designed to bring the audience to a high, which it did. Looptroop delivered hit after hit, from ‘The Struggle Continues’, to ‘On Repeat’, to ‘Fort Europa’, gearing up the crowd. Everyone in the venue was moving and singing along. Drenched in sweat, the audience got exactly what they wanted, though a bucket or two of cold water to cool down would have been nice.

There was a special brand of sound. Embee had decided to put away the turntables for the night and instead played the drums. His sense of rhythm was experimental but spot on, adding a fresh dynamic to the performance. Something was also lost, however, from a musical point of view, as no song quite resembled its recorded version, leaving something to be desired.

Embee’s drumming was inventive and inspired, but even Dave Grohl would have had trouble making up for the absence of the other instruments. There was a distinct lack of guitar, particularly in the song ‘On Repeat’.

Nevertheless, anyone at the concert would be hard-pressed to deny Looptroop’s calibre and magnetism. Their performance, collective chemistry and connection with the audience was constant and clear. Not even the fact that they spoke Swedish half the time broke their bond with the crowd, who went along with everything they said and did.

Half-way through the concert, a special atmosphere filled the venue, as tribute was paid to the Beastie Boys’ Adam ‘MCA’ Yauch, who passed away earlier this month. 'Long Arm Of The Law', 'Bandit Queen' and 'Looptroop Land' were delivered through a bold mix of Looptroop’s own music and that of the Beasties. A bitter-sweet moment, as the life of one of the greats was celebrated.

The mood quickly evolved into a pure Looptroop celebration. Their energy spread like fire, visibly uniting the audience in a way that can only be achieved in smaller intimate venues like Loppen. The last song, ‘The Building’ provided another memorable moment as the crowd reached its peak.

Looptroop left the stage and a chanting audience behind, returning shortly thereafter to an eager crowd. The encore was cheerful, beginning with a quick celebration of Cosmic’s 37th birthday. ‘Professional Dreamers’, ‘Magic’ and ‘Feel so Good’ followed, one by one, thoroughly enjoyed by the audience. Promoe’s ‘Lullabies to Myself’ was the last song of the evening, bringing the concert to a close, in a soothing bubble of reggae.

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