Monday, October 5, 2009

My Arms Get Cold

LIGHTS at the Middle East - October 4, 2009

I’ve been trying to go to a Lights concert for about a year now, but something always came up. One concert was the night before a huge midterm. I was ready and leaving to go to another one when a family friend’s father went into the hospital and I went instead to babysit her son. Then Warped Tour this summer Lights played in my hometown, but I was running chemosensory tests on fruit flies.

So I was positive that something was going to prevent me from going last night. Lightning was going to strike. My car was going to die. I was going to get swine flu. But nothing happened and finally, I got to see Lights!

The first opener was Andre Obin of Boston. He had a mac and a keyboard and a program board and basically layered beats over each other while singing through a highly distorted microphone. He would have been great at a club, dishing out music for dancing and grooving, but this wasn’t really the crowd for it. We clapped and cheered and bobbed along but we weren’t really the dancing type. He, however, was totally into it and was dancing by himself on the stage. Thumbs up dude, though I would have preferred a little more playing and a little less programming in a live show.

Next up were the Stars of Track and Field. They were two guitarists and a drummer, with a computer for a bassist. They weren’t bad, they made me dance a little, but they had all of the instruments turned up so loud that they really just became a wall of sound. Now, this was a hypnotising, encircling, enveloping, awesome wall of sound, but it was still a wall of sound. I’d love it if bands would turn down their instruments and put some space between notes so that everything is distinguishable from everything else. There were two points in their set when they, just for a few seconds, just sang with a simple guitar in the background and it was awesome but then they brought all of the instruments back in and everything got lost again. It was one of the guitarist's birthday, and so we sang to him and he was very happy. “Racing Lights” was a good song, and I’d recommend checking it out.

Finally, Lights. She bounced out on stage and was so cute and happy and bouncy. She sang her heart out and rocked out on the keytar and put so much energy into her performance that she ended up out of breath at some points. She played pretty much everything off of her EP and a handful of songs off of her new CD (out tomorrow!) The Listening. My favorite point of the night, however, was her performance of “February Air.” I’ve been waiting for about two years to see this song live, ever since I saw the simple promo video for it on a blog forever ago. And she rocked it. Technology cooperated with me and I uploaded the video I took of it onto YouTube for your viewing enjoyment. So enjoy:

The notes she reaches, the fact that she is pitch perfect and spot on, amazes me. She has quite possibly the best voice I have ever seen live, and the truest voice to recording I’ve ever heard.

She played a stripped down piano version of “Pretend” that was absolutely gorgeous and a completely different side of her music from her normal synth pop. The song apparantly appears on the CD in both forms and I’m pumped to hear them both. She ended the night with a Phil Collins cover (“In the Air Tonight”) and bounced off stage to chat with the crowd.

Now, I do want to make a note about the crowd. It was not at all what I was expecting. There were the requisite scene kids, and the girls with silly headbands, but there were also a short ton of guys. Some were middle-aged men, some were wearing leather jackets and caps over their shaved heads, and then there were the “bros.” There was this whole crowd of guys dancing like they were at a frat party in the middle of the floor, and at first I thought it was just a group of fifteen guys who decided to go to the Middle East for the night and drink some beer and dance to whoever the hell was there. But they knew the words. I didn’t think Canadian synth pop would attract so many dudes to a club, that so many of them would admit to listening to Lights and would unabashedly sing along. It was amazing. Of course, waiting to see her afterwards, there were the guys behind me scheming on how to ask her out. Ah. Hot chick appeal?

Was worth the two year wait? Absolutely.

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