Lights – Live Review

Rating: On Thursday 27th September 2012 the O2 Academy Islington welcomed Lights back to their stage, after she had performed...

Guy Hurst

Contributor

Rating: ★★★★★

On Thursday 27th September 2012 the O2 Academy Islington welcomed Lights back to their stage, after she had performed there back in May 2010 during her debut UK tour. The gig was initially planned to take place at Camden’s Electric Ballroom, however due to a scheduling conflict, it was moved to the more intimate venue.For anyone who hasn’t actually heard of the singer yet, let me hit you with some trivia: Lights(born Valerie Anne Poxleitner) is a Juno Award-winning electro-pop singer/songwriter hailing from Toronto, Canada. At 25 years old, she has collaborated with many established artists/bands including Owl City and the UK’s own, Bring Me The Horizon. She is an avid gamer, and has continuously expressed her love for the RPG game ‘World of Warcraft’. Not only that but she has also been made into a comic book character in a motion comic series called ‘Audio Quest: A Captain Lights Adventure,’ which has premiered on MTV and can be found on her Youtube page.

On the night of the gig, doors opened at 7pm and fans entered the venue hurrying to the front to get as close to the stage as possible. Opening for the night was a 4-piece band from London called Sons & Lovers. Now I admit I hadn’t heard of them before, but by the end of their 30 minute set I was making a note to search for them online when I got home (check out ‘Set My Heart’). Then came 9pm, and the stage lights faded to darkness as the intro to ‘Banner’ started to play, with Lights and her band appearing from behind the curtain and launching straight into the song. With the catchy chorus and the way the whole crowd sang along to the words, I found it extremely hard to concentrate on taking photos as all I wanted to do was throw my hands in the air and sing along too.

The set consisted of songs mainly from her 2nd album ‘Siberia’, a few songs from ‘The Listening’ and even a Blondie cover. Though, the one thing that stood out for me were the acoustic performances of ‘Saviour’ and ‘Drive My Soul‘. Given the size of the intimate venue and how inevitably close you were to the stage, you couldn’t help but take in the heart-felt expression of emotion in her lyrics. 

The last song performed was ‘Toes’, and even after 12 songs the fans were still dancing – waving their hands in the air, and singing along. Lights then thanked her fans for an incredible ending to her European tour and retired from the stage, and of course as soon as this happened, everyone started cheering and chanting for ‘one more song’. After a few minutes of continuous chanting and cheering, Lights returned to the stage and performed the song ‘Lions’, a song she’d written about her love of World of Warcraft, playing it as a tribute to the recent release of an expansion pack ‘Mist of Pandaria’. She then proceeded to close the show with a song she released on her Youtube page called ‘In the Dark I See’, in response to loyal group of fans who had attended a number of shows simply holding up a paper asking her to play the song. This was played acoustically – just Lights and her guitar – and it was such a beautiful, atmospheric way to end the night. She once again thanked everybody before she left the stage.

After the show had ended, fans eagerly waited outside the venue to meet the singer. Lights came outside and despite the large number of fans waiting to meet her, she went round to each of them, engaging in conversation, signing autographs, taking photos with them and of course giving out hugs. The singer seemed down to earth and the bond she has with her fans is clearly incredible.

I have to say that out of the many concerts I have attended to date, this one ranked among the favourites: Lights’ flawless vocals mixed with the numerous instruments used during the show had inspired me. It made me want to rush straight home, pick up the guitar I’ve neglected for a year, and start writing songs again. That, and buy a keytar.

Overall it was an evening filled with singing, dancing, drinking, waving hands in the air and random interactions between performer and the audience. It was truly a fantastic show. So thank you Lights for choosing to end your European tour in London – it was a night that definitely did not disappoint.

Setlist:

  1. Banner
  2. Fourth Dimension
  3. Timing Is Everything
  4. River
  5. Flux and Flow
  6. Everybody Breaks A Glass
  7. Saviour (piano acoustic)
  8. Drive my Soul(piano acoustic)
  9. Heart of Glass (Blondie cover)
  10. Siberia
  11. Suspension
  12. Where The Fence Is Low
  13. Toes

Encore:

  1. Lions
  2. In the Dark I See (acoustic)