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Lights illuminates downtown Buffalo

Pop star brings energy, synth pizza and marriage proposals to Town Ballroom

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Lights opened a pizza box on stage Tuesday night in Buffalo, revealing a keyboard she used to dive into one of her explosive pop tracks. A pizza box with a synth keyboard is the perfect metaphor for the unconventional coolness of the pop star.

The award-winning Canadian musician took her “We Were Here Tour” to the Town Ballroom where she showed off songs from her most recent “Skin and Earth” album and cuts from the early end of her discography. The audience sang along to stripped-down sets and let loose during an array of high-energy pop anthems. The singer played the keys, synth, electric and acoustic guitars for the roughly 500 in attendance.

The show’s visuals were captivating and refreshing, especially during high energy tracks like “Skydiving.” Before Lights returned to the stage to perform the track, glimpses of her “Skin and Earth” comic book series flickered on the backing screen. Fans screamed as they saw familiar faces from the comic books and screamed even louder when the series’ creator hit the stage.

During her interview with The Spectrum last month, Lights explained what she was hoping to accomplish with the show’s visuals.

“This is the first tour that I’ve been able to really build a cinematic crescendo of a set. There’s a definitive theme to the first half of the story and a definitive theme to the back half of the set … I think it’s my best show I’ve ever put on,” Lights said.

Once the singer came out to join her three-piece backing band in “Skydiving,” audience members immediately sang along with her, echoing the song’s lyrics through the venue. The backing visuals turned into an image of a woman with futuristic body paint, moving to the beat of the track.

During the chorus, Lights didn’t need choreography. She bounced around stage sporadically and managed to get the crowd involved without any rehearsed or formulated dancing.

The crowd was head-bobbing along to the pop star’s high intensity performance of “Kicks,” as background visuals of “Sailor Moon” took the place of the usual fire, clouds and comic characters during the show. The concert wasn’t just about the music. It was about the star’s personal touch.

During “Follow You Down,” the singer slowed the show’s mood and made way for her vocals. Members of the audience clapped along as Lights showcased her acoustic skills during the emotionally-raw performance.

Lights dedicated the performance to a couple who got engaged during her pre-show meet and greet, inspiring the crowd to applaud the pair.

During this stripped-down acoustic set, Lights still had help from her backing band, but the stage featured a new eye-popper. A keyboard stand filled with lit candles brought out the best of Town Ballroom’s intimate vibe and kept mood calm.

Afterward, the visuals prevailed again. “Giants” had the crowd singing along as some members of the crowd stared in amazement at the stage background.

The backing screen put viewers on a journey through the clouds. As the image showed off the sky, Lights’ intention to make viewers feel like “Giants” became very clear.

Lights' set was followed with an encore. The crowd chanted “one more song” but the singer surprised fans with two.

The tour’s titular track, “We Were Here,” served as a solid send off, with black and white clips of flames and some closing keyboard flourishes by the pop-singer.

Brenton Blanchet is the senior arts editor and can be reached at Brenton.blanchet@ubspectrum.com and @BrentBlanchSpec.


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