About Me

Name: Adam Bernard
Home: Fairfield, Connecticut, United States
About Me: Entertainment journalist with 15+ years of experience. Supporter of indie music. Lover of day baseball, fringe movies, & chicken shawarma. Part time ninja. Nerdy, but awesome.
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She Lights Up The Night
Friday, October 09, 2009

Diminutive, tattooed, and with a smile that’s as infectious as it is effusive, Lights has quickly become one of my favorite new artists. The Canadian keytar shredder (that will be explained in a bit) and singer/songwriter released her debut LP, The Listening, this Tuesday and her tour in support of it hit NYC’s Mercury Lounge that same night. Being that I have been a huge fan of Lights ever since I first became aware of her while covering Warped Tour earlier this year, you know I wasn’t about to miss this show.

Musically, you can’t go wrong with Lights. She has a really beautiful synth pop sound that matches her personality perfectly. Her band consists of herself, a drummer and one other keyboard player. That’s right, no guitars. Not surprisingly, the set up for her live show is extremely synth heavy with five keyboards and Lights’ keytar. During the show she pointed out that her favorite piece of equipment had lost a key and that she “didn’t know you could shred on a keytar.”

Throughout Lights’ entire 45+ minute set she exemplified exactly how an artist should be on stage – she was herself. Fun, happy and talking with the crowd about everything from her music to her hobbies, Lights came across as a truly genuine soul and the vibe she gave off quickly spread throughout the crowd, creating an atmosphere of instant friendship. Thanks to that feeling she so effortlessly creates, and vocals that oftentimes have an innocent sound to them, Lights is arguably one of the most likeable artists around. When she performs a song like her current single, “Savior,” you just want to run up to her and give her a hug.

In addition to the music, which was fantastic, there were also quite a few enjoyable non-musical moments from the show, most notably when Lights chatted with the crowd in-between songs. It was never more than a sentence or two, but it was the way in which she spoke to the audience, as if everyone in the room were her best friends, that was both really endearing and connecting. Whether she was telling us about how big a fan she is of Phil Collins, explaining how she wrote one of her songs about her favorite video game, or using one of her keyboards to play the music from multiple worlds of the original Super Mario Brothers, everything she did, and the way in which she did it, whether she realized it or not, bonded her with the crowd. Personally, it really brought me back to when life was simpler and we made friends far more easily, by just having a common interest and running with it. Lights’ music also helps give me that vibe since she performs 80’s inspired synth pop, the original version of which happened to be on the radio a lot when I was growing up. When she performed a cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight” as her encore it worked to further that feeling for me.

Lights knows how to create both a sound and an atmosphere that’s enjoyable and friendly. You can’t say that about very many artists, which is why I hope to see Lights’ name in lights for years to come.

Side Notes – This was a night where timing was everything. My press tickets arrived a little over an hour before I had to leave the house. On my train ride in I saw a friend from grade school who currently lives on the west coast and was only in town for a wedding. My taxi got me to Mercury Lounge ten minutes before Lights hit the stage. After the show I checked my phone for the score of the Twins – Tigers game, saw it was 5-5 heading into the 11th and walked across the street to Nice Guy Eddie’s to watch the end of the game and grab a bite to eat. After the game was over the subway failed me by not showing up when I needed it, so I bolted from there and caught a cab that got me to Grand Central Station one minute before the 10:22pm train was scheduled to leave. I ran like a track star and made the train. In other words, not only did I see a fantastic show, I had a fantastic night.

You can check out pics from the show at my Lights 10/09 album on Flickr.

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