Lights lit up 9:30 club with her energetic and bubbly self on Monday, March 5. She is lightyears from where she started, selling out venues all across the US of A.
Growing up as a missionary kid and moving around from the Phillipines to Jamaica, Lights is used to traveling all over the world, but considers Ontario, Canada here homeland.The 24 year-old has been writing her own songs since she was 16.
In 2009, she won the Juno award for Best New Artist. This year, her newest album “Siberia” was nominated for a Juno Award in the “Pop Album of the Year” category.
The opener, Ambassadors, a four piece band from Brooklyn, NY, surprised everyone with their edgy and vibrating mix of genres. They literally cannot be pinned to one genre and none of their songs sound alike. It’s a blend of R&B/soul, chamber pop, and dark electronica with heavy beats.
Ambassadors has a self-titled EP from 2010 and since then, they have released an album, “Litost” consisting of 8 rad songs.
Band members are Sam Harris (vocals, multi-instrumentals), Casey Harris (keyboard), Noah Feldshu (lead guitarist) and Adam Levin (drums).
The most surprising aspect to Ambassadors is the blind keyboardist (C. Harris), who amazed everybody with his incredible talent and passion.
Soon after Ambassadors’ set ended, the lights dimmed down and a pulsing buzz rang through the venue. The familiar lasers from “Banner” went off and all at once, Lights radiated the stage.
Little did I know that Lights puts on a hardcore show. The electronic beats were heavy, as heard during “Flux and Flow”, the most dub-step-esque song performed.
The light show itself was hypnotic with vibrant purples, reds, greens and blues and an intense strobe effect that continued to draw people in.
Add her angelic voice and her breathtaking appearance and you’ve been cast under Lights’ spell. It was literally like she absorbed the audiences’ souls and used them to fuel her dazzling performance.
It was an epic experience to say the least that I did not expect from the small, airy figure that is Lights. This girl has grit and really knows how to throw down. Having a full band of drums, keyboards and synthesizers also enhanced the performance.
Continuing to please her fans, Lights played old favorites from her first album including “The Last Thing On Your Mind,” “Ice,” and “River”.
“The Listening” was definitely Lights’ most personal work, with deep lyrics that told the story of her past. As she has said before, the songs came from a “sad but hopeful place.”
When Lights sang “Pretend” solo on the piano, everybody got choked up. It sounded so beautiful and the rawness of the lyrics instilled so much emotion.
“Once in a while I act like a child to feel like a kid again/It gets like a prison in the body I’m living in/ ‘Cause everyone’s watching/ and quick to start talking, /I’m losing my innocence/ Wish I were a little girl without the weight of the world.”
Lights’ set was an even balance between old and new songs. She even played last year’s single “Boots,” which got everyone off their feet. Off of “Siberia,” she played “Fourth Dimension,” “Siberia,” “Suspension,” “Where The Fence Is Low” and finished with “Toes.”
“Siberia” is entirely from a happy place, as displayed by Lights’ infectious smile and adorable dancing that captivated all the whole night. (Perhaps this happiness partially came from her summer engagement to Beau Bokan from the band Blessthefall.)
Lights has re-invented herself as an artist without removing her talent, something rarely done well by most.
“It’s been a while since we’ve been here. THIS is amazing- this venue, these people, this room…” said Lights.
To close the show after the crowd demanded an encore, Lights played “Face Up” and “Cactus In The Valley” on her acoustic guitar. After a night full of dancing and dubstep, they were the perfect lullabies to send everyone off onto the cold streets of DC.
Lights’ live performance is magical and enchanting- I highly recommend making the effort to see her next time she’s around town.