So, Lorde is a little bit odd.
And I say that with the utmost respect for her as a performer. What’s that old cliché “It’s better to be absolutely ridiculous, than absolutely boring”? Yeah, she’s that. Absolutely ridiculous in a wonderfully weird way.
Straight up, her dance moves are wild. You’ve got to commend the girl on the way she throws her entire being into her performance. Literally. She throws her entire body and luxurious mane of chocolate curls around like an epileptic ragdoll. The music just seems to possess her; I can only imagine the self-inflicted whiplash she experiences after each show. She is the Elaine Benes of the next generation.
The young star drew an intimate crowd of varied ages to the Newcastle Entertainment Centre on Saturday night, from excitable 10 year old tweens to more mature ladies on the less-forgiving side of 50. It became evident that Lorde speaks to many people on many levels.
The songstress prowled onto the stage to a chorus of cheers and squeals, a single spotlight drenching her small frame in blue light. Channelling the 80s, she wore a high-waisted pantsuit and blouse combo, emanating a very Kate Bush-esque vibe in both presentation and demeanour.
Opening with ‘Glory and Gore’ then moving into the mesmeric chanting of ‘Biting Down’, her backing musicians on keys and drums were revealed. The chaotic and vivid light show perfectly synchronised with her frenzied movements.
Yet, amidst the frenetic flailing, her smooth caramel voice never faltered. Her resonant vocal range alternates between fragile and delicate, to a powerful contralto.
Of course, her breakthrough hit ‘Royals’ was met with a roar of teen screams and a social-media frenzy. She was saluted with a sea of smart phones, and I felt momentarily sad for the next generation who prefer to experience life through their screens, than actually give full attention to the moment at hand.
She is every bit the unlikely pop idol producing left-of-centre Top 40 hits, but then sidesteps into songs like ‘Ribs’ and ‘Still Sane’ exposing a lyrical maturity well beyond her years.
I think what’s most impressive about Lorde is that she is seventeen. A fact you tend to forget while caught up in her commanding and fierce stage presence. Only when she stops to interact with the crowd do you sense her lingering childlike nature.
For me, the song ‘Easy’ was a standout. This is a dark, almost Transylvanian-inspired track that saw Lorde collaborate with Son Lux and move in a less pop-friendly direction. The eerie and ethereal tone perfectly suited her strange and hypnotic style of performance.
Lorde closed the show with a finale of grand proportions. She spoke the opening lines of ‘Team’ and the crowd hung on every husky word. The beat came in and the energy of the room was palpable. She made a mid-song costume change into a flowing gold cape, and the show climaxed in a cascade of pink confetti. It was hard not to get swept up in the theatrics of it all and praise the Lorde.
With her debut album Pure Heroin reaching such remarkable heights in less than a year, here’s hoping this admirable young pop star can maintain her hype with a stellar sophomore offering. Stay tuned.