Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz tour is coming to town, a rolling twerk-cus of sorts featuring all your favorite pre-packaged WTF moments—bondage-inspired outfits, furies, hot dog riding, licking, a Big Sean puppet—all rolled into one fun-filled night. But there may be a bit more to Bangerz that just recreating Cyrus’ infamous VMA performance on a nightly basis. It seems the singer is looking to pull off a tricky reinvention for the tour, taking her recent transformation from teen idol to sex-pot provocateur and parlaying that image into something resembling a legitimate artist. From my cursory research, this process has yet to be successfully maneuvered, but I guess we’ll see.
Enter Icona Pop and Sky Ferreira, Cyrus’ (allegedly) hand-picked openers for the 60-date tour. Neither act is exactly an obvious choice (I’m guessing Carly Rae Jepsen was busy.) But both acts do work nicely into Cyrus’ grand ploy for respectability, having pulled in strong reviews for their records and the “serious listener” audience that usually follows that sort of thing.
Ostensibly due to an injury sustained onstage in late February, Ferreira has dropped out of this leg of the tour. That’s too bad, as her debut album, Night Time, My Time, is very, very good—a worthy entry even among the crowded field of excellent synth pop acts from 2013 including Chvrches, Disclosure and Charli XCX. Produced by Ariel Rechtshaid (Vampire Weekend, HAIM), it cuts the typical shiny, synth-pop sheen with scuzzier, more dissonant sounds pulled from the Suicide and Animal Collective playbook.
As far as we can tell, the Swedish duo Icona Pop (pictured above) will still be warming the stage for Bangerz. “Pop” is in their name, so they aren’t subtle about their affiliation to big, loud, shout-along hooks. Chances are you’ve heard at least one Icona Pop song, which, consequently, would put you on equal footing with most of the people who bought their debut album, This Is Icona Pop. That song, “I Love It” is certainly a fantastic track, as raucous and catchy as they come. The lyrics are ostensibly about anarchy, albeit the kind that cheerleaders can relate to: throwing someone’s clothes down the stairs, not caring, et al. Still, “I Love It” espouses the brand of provocative the Bangerz tour seems to be courting, one sufficiently sanitized for a teenage audience. The remainder of This Is Icona Pop is the stuff stadium tours were made of. While the Swedes may never headline a tour of that size themselves, acting as Cyrus’ pre-twerk warm-up does seem like an inspired pairing.
So is the Bangerz tour’s stop at the AT&T Center this Saturday worth your time, or more likely, your $100? (For the cheap seats, mind you.) Unless you’re a ridiculously devoted fan of this particular type of synth-y shock-pop, probably not. But there’s no taking away the fact that Cyrus has put together a surprisingly talented bill here, and from the reports of those who have seen the show so far, Bangerz looks to be a thoroughly baffling and wild ride.