Friday, November 20, 2009

Bright Lights

Ontario born Lights made a stop at the Memorial Centre in Red Deer for the very first time this past weekend. After finishing a tour across the US, she is now making her way across Canada promoting her new album ‘The Listening’.

Lights is the most adorable girl I’ve ever seen and perhaps the most eccentric. She is every nerds dream with her comic book heroine appearance, and love for video games and comic books. Anyone who follows her online is well aware she is an avid player of World of Warcraft (known as WOW), which is a highly involved video game. She’s even written a song based on the game. But she’s taken her love for superheroes and fantasy worlds even farther by creating her own animated comic, featuring herself as the protagonist, and which can be viewed in short episodes on her Myspace page online.

While being a bit of a geek (ok, a huge geek) with her love of comic books and video games, she is an incredibly talented individual. And her nerdiness definitely shows through her music, with her intergalactic beats, video game references, and even her album artwork and music videos. Lights showcased these interests, as well as her passion for creating unique music, on stage for her local fans.

At the age of 9 Lights had acquired her first guitar and wrote her first song from the handful of chords she had learned by the age of 11. Following that she learned to play the drums, keyboard/piano and synthesizer and as she showcased at the show, she excels at all of them. Not to mention she possesses one powerful set of pipes which is not always apparent through her radio singles.

I arrived a bit late at the show, missing the opening act, Jets Overhead from British Columbia. My friends and I kind of giggled at the fact that we felt REALLY old, as most of the other attendees were tweens and younger. There was a group of young girls behind us that couldn’t have been more than 5 years old. I think that was the first concert I’ve ever attended with children so young!

Armed with an immense smile bright enough to light up the entire auditorium, Lights took to her microphone and keyboards to an explosion of tiny, girlish screams. Backed by her band on the drums and synth, she proceeded to entertain the crowd with her poppy vocals and imaginative beats. She played most of the songs off her latest album, and all of the singles I was familiar with. Explaining the thought behind some of the songs, and explaining the way they were written, including ‘Pretend’, which was written to be played on the piano, but is synthesized on the record.
Filling the space between songs, Lights often turned to interludes reminiscent of Super Mario Brothers video games, or played snippets from her own animated comic. By the end of the show, we were left to wonder if Captain Lights managed to survive a confrontation between the enemy or not.

Before the last song of the evening, Lights takes the time to introduce her band and then Russell, the keytar. Yes, the keytar has a name. Following her last song, the giant, bright smile that’s remained on the young girls’ face for the entire performance doesn’t diminish a bit as she waves to the crowd and exits the stage.
The crowd erupts into cheering and chants for one more song. After a few minutes of tiny voices chanting for Lights to come back, she reappears back onstage, minus the band, for a two song encore, in which she played a cover of Phil Collins’ ‘In The Air Tonight’, and an acoustic version of her own single, ‘February Air’, which sounds just as good acoustically as it does with synthesized beats, as it was played earlier in the night. During this final song of the evening, my heart melted listening to the little girls with their painted up faces singing along, and they knew ALL the words. If I wasn’t already smiling at how great this show had been, I was definitely grinning at how adorable those little kids sounded.

Previously I was only familiar with the four singles Lights has released over the past couple years, but I still had a feeling she would put on a great show. And my instincts definitely proved me right, as I was blown away by her performance and her new album is now on the top of my must have albums. Lights unquestionably proves that good things come in small packages, Canada really does possess some amazing talent and that being a nerd is definitely cool.

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