Lights at Varsity Theater, 4/26/2012


Lights with Carousel
Varsity Theater, Minneapolis
Thursday, April 26, 2012

View a slideshow from the concert here.

Never has a venue been been this packed with boys/men waiting to get a glimpse of the beautiful Valerie Poxleitner, also known as Lights. What's not to love, though? Perfect hair, perfect teeth, and a voice as clear as a bell when it wasn't lost in the sometimes too busy instrumentation.

Making her second round to the Cities -- the first was last October at the Triple Rock -- Lights exclaimed, "I love Minneapolis! I had a great day off yesterday exploring."

Wearing a simple plaid shirt, which she later removed to reveal a black tank showcasing her tattoos, the performer let her music take center stage, although she had enough energy and stage presence to carry the show herself. Most artists look uncomfortable when onstage sans an instrument, but with her sex appeal, Lights looked at home singing and dancing while alternating between her keyboards, and a few times picking up guitar like on "My Boots."

Dubstep can be a good thing when used sparingly as Lights does in "Everybody Breaks a Glass," mainly used on the bridge as a part of the breakdown. As mentioned before, the Canadian-born performer's voice is really quite lovely, but there were a few times that it was overpowered by the bass and drums. When she was able to perform solo, as on "And Counting...," the clearness and power of her range control were really able to shine through. Before the song, a fan passed to the stage a glow-stick contraption that spelled out the word "Lights." Very creepily sweet.

Lights at Varsity Theater, 4/26/2012
Photo by Anna Gulbrandsen

You can't use a stage name like Lights without implementing a light show into the performance -- which took the entire show to another level and setting the stage for making every song epic and meaningful.

With the driving beat of her current single, she was able to get the crowd riled up mid-set to dance and sing along to "Siberia." Then she followed it up with the sweet love song "Last Thing on Your Mind." Introducing "Where the Fence is Low" as a song about following your dream, Lights did not forget her female crowd, especially since quite a few were under or right around the age of 21. Her lyrics "The fear that contains, that binds like a blessing, I've been here before, then again I'm guessing," speak the words that many teens want to hear -- that they are not alone in feeling lost and confused.

Her encore consisted of an energetic "Lions!" and ended on a slow note with an acoustic version of "In the Dark I See."

Critic's Notebook: The last time I had seen Lights was opening for Owl City at the State Theater, and I feel like she has been able to cultivate a more organic audience than the Minnesota performer.

Overheard in the crowd: "Oh good. We made it in time for Skrillex," in reference to Lights' similar look to the dubstep performer.

Random notebook dump: There were quite a few girls in the crowd that were dressed and styled very similar to the singer. I guess it is true about imitation being the best form of flattery.


Fourth Dimension
My Boots
Flux and Flow
Everybody Breaks a Glass
And Counting...
Face Up
Last Thing on Your Mind
Where the Fence is Low

In the Dark I See

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