Wasn’t sure what to expect from this, but after an uninspiring set by an opener I hadn’t heard of before, FKA Twigs proved to be worthy of all the hype. The music she plays isn’t my thing, really, but she had the crowd in the palm of her hand and had a great stage setup as well. Fun show, she is going to be big.
Sunday, after a looong weekend, I saw Lykke Li and Grimes play at the 9:30 Club. I had never heard of Grimes before this show was announced, but I have been a pretty large Lykke Li fan for years, since before her debut album Youth Novels came out. Grimes turned out to be a one woman band, who played an odd, eclectic mix of pop/noise/danse music. I’d have to listen to her stuff recorded to really pass judgement, but live it was interesting, if really distorted.
Lykke Li, who I’ve seen before, has upgraded her sound and more than upgraded her stage show. The set was almost like an arena rock performance, with blasting strobes, synchronized lighting, tons of fog, weird cloth strips that hung from the ceiling and swirled around the stage… The new material is also bigger and more bombastic (even as the song thematic material is darker and somber at times), so it’s quite a spectacle. For me, it left me a little unsure if I preferred this new Lykke Li to the one from Youth Novels and before. She got her start with small, intimate songs with a stripped down sound. Part of the reason I loved those early singles and her first album (and her earlier stage show) was how it felt like she was really putting herself out there with little artifice. While this new record and show are way, way more pro and accomplished, I think it loses a little of that feel. Still, it was a super impressive show and she is certainly flexing as an artist.
Last week I was able to shoot Kylie Minogue’s show for the Washington Post… it was a pretty amazing affair. I am not a huge fan, or even a casual fan… in fact I can only think of one Kylie song off the top of my head! But the show was really fun, full of drama and pomp and an INCREDIBLE stage setup and performance… some of the most over the top stage stuff that I have ever seen at a concert. I was told that the tour cost $25 million… and I believe it. Check out photos below:
This was an experience. Packed Verizon Center in DC. 30,000 people. Mostly ladies. All of them screaming for Usher and Trey Songz. Crazy. Usher is a total pro… this was a very well done performance. It was almost too well-orchestrated to call it a concert, but it was quite a spectacle… and Usher is definitely a showman.