After two-and-half years away, the New Zealand star unveils new material in LA.
Civen Lorde hadn’t performed in public for almost two-anda-half years, her first show ahead of the release of hugely anticipated second album Melodrama next month was always going to be something of an event. That it took the form of a surprise gig in a tiny bar in front of just 300 people, made it a remarkable one. Having announced the show at Pappy & Harriet’s on the outskirts of LA only hours previously on Twitter, the New Zealand singer emerged just after midnight on 15 April to deliver a startlingly intimate 12- song set that mixed a Q&A session with the audience, recent releases Green Light and Liability, and previously unheard new track Sober. A dazzling two-part suite about the combined thrill of a new hook-up alongside trepidation for the next day’s fall-out, Sober’s first half combined synthesized brass stabs, a robotic vocoder and galloping electronic beats while the second built from mournful piano into a surge of strings and two-step rhythms. If, as Lorde recently revealed, Melodrama loosely follows the narrative arc of a night out, Sober sounded like the evening’s peak. The following Sunday at Coachella, production values were a bit more high-rent, with the singer performing alongside – and sometime inside – a giant plastic box filled with dancers looking like a flashmob in a fish tank. Turning the confidential atmosphere of two days earlier into a mass communion, the likes of first album hits Royals and Tennis Court were joined by another brand-new track, the icy Homemade Dynamite, before Lorde closed with a euphoric rendition of Green Light’s thundering pop-house. Lorde’s 2013 debut, Pure Heroine, was released when the singer was just 17 – its acutely observed snapshots of teenage life sold more than five million copies and led David Bowie to declare her “the future”. From the stage at Coachella, the now 20- year-old declared Melodrama would be about “the ups and downs of being a 20- something.” Given what she’s shared from the record so far, the future would seem to be hers for the taking.
Headsdown: Lordeat Pappy & Harriet’s , 15 April, 2017. Lorde almighty: (main pic and from left) singing outside the box, Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival, 16 April, 2017.