On Saturday, April 21st, Lancaster’s Chameleon Club hosted Canadian musician Lights as she brought her brand of synth/electro pop to town.
In the midst of a North American tour, Lights’ set leaned heavily on her most recent release, last year’s Siberia. Featuring a much heavier, more danceable and more mature sound with some dub-step flourishes, it translates into an energetic live show.
Backed by a live drummer and two multi-instrumentalists (who predominantly operated various synths and keyboards), Lights, herself, bounced freely between a few keyboards, a device to trigger the dub-step elements of her new material, an electric guitar and an acoustic guitar. There were also moments where she was able to step away from all of the instruments and interact with the crowd.
Speaking of the crowd, it was a decidedly younger bunch, seemingly with a median age somewhere in the teens. The adolescents heavily populated the packed floor while the over-21 crowd gravitated toward the second and third floor balconies. I rarely like to be so far removed from the action, but the bird’s eye view afforded me the opportunity to appreciate the epilepsy-inducing visual spectacle. Lights certainly brought the lights. The smoke machines also got quite a workout.
The set began with her recent single “Banner” and there were only a few concessions to devotees of her debut, The Listening. These selections were one of the obvious highlights from that album “Ice” along with “Quiet” and the separately released single “My Boots” was also in the mix. From there on out, it was all Siberia which suited this reviewer just fine. At the halfway mark, Lights mixed things up by doing a solo piano love song called “And Counting…” as her band took a breather. The main set ended with lead single from Siberia, the coming-out of her heavier material, “Toes.”
After the performers left the stage for a minute or two, the crowd loudly clamored for ‘one more song,’ which Lights and her band gladly obliged. The encore was an acoustic version of “Cactus In The Valley” which only those who bought the deluxe version of Siberia would be privy to. It was a sedate and unexpected way to end the mostly upbeat set, but it can’t be said that the song selection was predictable.
Scheduled opening act Ambassadors was unable to perform at the show because of an accident a few days prior. This resulted in a hasty last minute replacement. The performer (whose name I didn’t catch) was a solo drummer who played along to a very heavy pre-programmed electronica track. It was actually better than you might expect and was brisk.
Overall, Lights’ live show had an energy and relatively raw feel (in a good way) that one might not expect going by her recorded material. This is a clear reflection of her musical growth. It also goes to show that electro-pop can be as compelling live as it is pumping out of the speakers in the club.
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When J.J. Ellis isn’t writing as the Allentown DVD Examiner, his Decent Exposure Radio can be heard on the air every Friday night from 10:30 to midnight (EST) on WXLV 90.3 FM or wxlvradio.com!