At the Regent Theater in downtown Los Angeles on Feb. 6, Canadian singer Lights played to a sold out crowd in support of her recent release, Skin & Earth. The album is paired with a comic book series, also created by Lights. And though they can be listened and read to separately, each enhances the other.
As for Tuesday, the comics and the music more evidently collided as a live performance. Two cardboard cutout of characters from the comics, one based on Lights herself, stood to the side of the bar. Imagery on the background screen included digitized versions of the comics. Vibrant, varying colors seized as both spotlights and lights rimming the screens illuminated the song’s aura.
Lights weaved a narrative over the course of her set. In each segment, she wore a slightly different outfit than the last, a gradual evolution. In a tight black cropped tank and black jogger pants, she was like an emo Gwen Stefani (’90s Gwen, of course). She brought the dance party for seven songs, before taking some time to mellow out. She opened with “New Fears,” then followed with the rock-tinged “Savage.” Later, a crew member came out with what appeared to be a pizza box. “Did somebody order us a pizza,” Lights asked. “Is it vegan?” She dipped her fingers in and instead of taking out a slice, she hit a few notes on the hidden keys, eventually playing the first few notes for “Up We Go.”
Lights is a master in fanship. The evening was characterized by her interactions with them, whether grabbing hands, noting that some in the room were in her recent video or making it known that they are the reason for her success. “I was reminiscing about all the shows we’ve done in L.A.,” she said, noting that, since 2008, they’ve gotten a little bigger and better each time. Before plunging into “Siberia,” she dutifully reminded everyone that “women have fucking stepped up for a long time.”
After bopping the anthemic “Moonshine,” the mood shifted. At the end of the Salt & Earth comic intro, Lights re-appeared with an acoustic guitar and in all black, save for a gray coat delicately draped over her shoulders, and traded her pants for shorts. She strummed for “Cactus in the Valley” and “Follow You Down,” but ditched the guitar for a solo cup of wine during “Muscle Memory.” Accompanied by a swig from her cup, she sang, “When I’m playing games, when I’m drinking wine.” This garnered a lovingly “drink that wine bitch!,” no less.
A table with melted candles was removed while another comic segment played. Lights returned for “Skydiving,” but without a coat, and instead wearing a mesh long sleeve with embroidered flowers. The energy was back, whether jamming out aggression during “Fight Club” or grooving to the idea of a rose-colored past via “Running with the Boys.” She always remained on the fans’ level. When asked if they were enjoying the new record and had checked out the comics, Lights said, “This bitch here wrote the whole thing!” As the eye of their adoration she made sure to offer some wisdom: Weaknesses doesn’t make you broken. Through darkness, you find light. The night closed echoing such sentiments.
Appropriately, Lights finished her set with “Giants,” a song that imagines overcoming your biggest obstacles and thriving. She exited the stage, but only after making sure to signal her thankfulness with a hand heart.
- New Fears
- Second Go
- Up We Go
- Cactus in the Valley (acoustic)
- Follow You Down (acoustic)
- Muscle Memory (acoustic)
- Fight Club
- Running with the Boys
- Magnetic Field
- We Were Here
- Almost Had Me
- Same Sea