Giggly and thrilled when speaking, Lorde offered Seattle a glimpse into her personality, which would otherwise be assumed to be as somber and dramatic as her songs, during her concert March 9 at Key Arena.
After taking a hiatus from the public spotlight to write her songs and move back to her home in New Zealand, Lorde released her album “Melodrama” in 2017 and embarked on her subsequent world tour. Electro pop singer Tove Styrke and hip-hop duo Run the Jewels joined her as openers.
In “Melodrama,” Lorde explores themes of solitude after her breakup with her long-term boyfriend. The album is set against the backdrop of the bleak hope of house parties. Written in New Zealand and recorded in New York City, “Melodrama” was released four years after her rookie album, “Pure Heroine.”
With popular singles like “Perfect Places” and “Greenlight,” Lorde’s sophomore effort has garnered widespread acclaim and was nominated for Album of the Year at the recent Grammy Awards. The tracks maintain her gruff but lovable bellowing, evoking more raw emotions than those of her previous album.
People of practically all ages came to watch Lorde and her accompanying acts—a nod to the universality of her songs. Though the venue was not entirely filled to the brim, the crowd’s energy made up for their lack
Tove Styrke was the first opener and kicked off the set with “Borderline,” a relaxed rock track from her latest album “Kiddo.” Styrke’s performance of “Mistakes” was true to the sound on her album with a soothing touch
Despite Stryke’s questionable decision to perform a cover of Lorde’s own song “Liability,” she was a treat to watch. She performed fun and free moments throughout her set—punctuated with well-timed hip movements. Her high and breathy voice was actually intelligible in person, something missing from many concerts, and she stayed on pitch without sounding nasally.
Styrke rounded out her set with an energetic rendition of her song “Say My Name,” getting the audience up on their feet to groove with her.
Run the Jewels brought a quick change of pace, jumping right into their hit “Run the Jewels” after coming out to Queen’s “We Are the Champions.” The duo consists of rapper Killer Mike and rapper/producer El-P who both act as each other’s “hype man,” bouncing verses off each other throughout their tracks.
This set energized the crowd: Killer Mike and El-P constantly engaged the crowd and inserted funny self-deprecating quips into their brotherly love rapport. After performing their hit “Legend Has It,” which was featured in a Marvel Black Panther movie trailer, Killer Mike called out a cute couple dancing and hugging in the crowd, warning them not to break each other’s hearts.
The duo ended their set with a message of love for the crowd, as Killer Mike pleaded with the crowd to let their loved ones know they care and gave an encouraging note of better days tomorrow. Their overall performance was entertaining and boisterous, but vaguely reminded me of a very aggressive Fourth of July firework display with the excessive amount of lights flashing into the audience.
Finally, Lorde began her long-awaited set for an anxious crowd. Plainly clothed dancers first came on stage, performing moves that seemed to mix ballet with interpretive dancing. As the lights rhythmically withdrew with the beat, Lorde appeared on a stand behind the dancers. She started slowly as she came to the front of the stage, singing “Sober” from her new album. The dancers moved behind and around her, as she herself danced with her absent-minded movements.
Some songs she performed, like “Magnets’ and ‘Buzzcut Season,” gave the concert an almost psychedelic feeling, while others like “Liability” and took a more emotional turn. Throughout, Lorde stayed true to her throaty but pure vocals, which were particularly highlighted with her performance of “Precious Metals.”
The show had substantial production value, and featured video panels behind Lorde, showing footage of anything from girls drinking in the back of a limo to waves crashing on the shore. The dancers helped maintain a relaxed feeling throughout the set, but I at times found myself watching the dancers while only listening to Lorde’s performance, which may have been the point. Lorde sometimes joined in their synchronized movements, much to the crowd’s excitement.
There were a few excessive and questionable moments when dancers entered what resembled a very fancy ,clear shipping container. The box then proceeded to lift into the air and at times tilt from side to side, eliciting a collective gasp from the audience.
Terrible yet charming dance moves aside, Lorde brought with her an attitude of genuineness rare of most pop singers, making her concert a must-see as she invites the crowd to join her on every emotional rollercoaster she rides in her songs.
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