Something fun about live stream concerts is that while they’re all sort of similar in the sense of an artist performing live and broadcasting it directly to people, they’re also all incredibly different from each other. It’s comforting that fans can log in together all over the world to watch their favorite artists and bands perform, and they never really know what kind of experience they’re in for.
On April 24th, the very talented American singer-songwriter Poppy took to the live stream performance trend. Presented by Veeps, there was a fun and lively fan-generated chat just to the right of the screen. From the beginning of the show, until about 10 minutes after the show, this chat was lively, excited and ready for everything. From typing lyrics all in caps to emoji’s to calling out the names of the songs, to simply just “YESSSS POPPY!!!,” the chat did not stop scrolling once. There was never a dull moment in this virtual audience, and they were all more than excited to be sharing such a distinct and fun experience.
Poppy has a very interesting stage presence and her music is a pretty big mix of different things. Her style is dark and cute, while her music takes on the tones of avante garde, pop and nu-metal. Nu-metal is a subgenre of alternative metal that combines elements of heavy metal and other hints of things like alternative rock, industrial and grunge. Her art-pop aesthetic makes her so fun and lively to watch when she’s performing.
Starting her show strong, Poppy opened the show with “Concrete” from her 2020 album I Disagree. Fans were typing in the chat even faster than they had before the show started. Exclaiming how ready they were for all the fun that was to come. Poppy made her entrance to a small set and stage with her bandmates spread out in the room. They had masks on and were placed in the corners of the square set. The lights were a bright neon pink color, and there were a few cool flashes and blackouts to make the scene fun and dramatic. The lights were mostly in the back, causing everything to be more backlit. This was a cool effect and gave her and her bandmates a very silhouetted feel.
While Poppy has an aesthetic that is very dark and intense, her soft vocals and sweet voice are paradoxical of the tough and intense lyrics she often sings. When she transitioned into the second song in the set, “BLOODMONEY” (I Disagree, 2020), the fans were just as hyper as she was. It was so high energy and intense, mixing together the different stylings of both sweet tones, avante garde rhythms and heavy metal guitar. Fans were loving every single second of it.
Continuing on throughout the show, one of the songs that Poppy performed, “Play Destroy” (from the 2018 album, Am I A Girl?), was one of those songs that felt very sweet, and then lyrically, it was very dark and edgy. While starting out a little softer, it maintains those heavy guitar overdrive riffs and chords. It really picks up and drives home the punch at the end of the song, which gives it that very Poppy feel. As with all of the other songs, fans were typing the lyrics almost faster than Poppy could sing them.
Before the show had started, some of the fans in the chat were talking about Lady Gaga’s most recent album Chromatica (2020), and how they thought some of the songs felt like it had similar vibes. “Fill the Crown” from the album I Disagree, 2020, had a few different moments of those Chromatica vibes. This song is very industrial and ties in elements of that nu-metal style, as well as Poppy’s soft yet powerful vocals.
A fan favorite was the song “Am I A Girl?” from the album, Am I A Girl? (2018). People in the virtual audience loved the expressiveness of the lyrics as well as the softer side of her voice and the more melodic rhythms. This song was a little less harsh and intense, but it still had those thick drum patterns and intense guitar solos. It was very high energy, and Poppy was dancing and jumping all around the stage and set.
One of Poppy’s most streamed songs is 2020 single, “All The Things She Said.” This was one that the fans were most excited for her to perform. Poppy kept the energy high and exciting while dancing and jumping. There was never a moment where the talented performer stopped the energy. She was very enthusiastic, and the fans responded well; it was at this point in the show where comments of “love this set list!” started to flow in.
Fans in the chat were coming together to talk about a sort of inside joke with one of the songs. For the song “Don’t Go Outside” from I Disagree (2020), fans were calling it ‘the Corona Anthem.’ The song began with a softness to it—there was a single guitar with a repetitive and pleasing pattern. Then there was a splash of heavy metal that hit in the middle of the song while still keeping it kind of light. Then, the metal starts to really hit, and fans couldn’t get enough of the sweet guitar solo. The sweetness of the style and the way that she sings contrasts the dark lyrics. These two elements blended together perfectly.
With a quick wink, Poppy was gone in a stage blackout. As if to give the fans an encore performance, Poppy was back in an instant with “Bite Your Teeth” (I Disagree, 2020). The virtual audience was shocked and thought it might have even been a new song, but then they recognized the tune as she headed back to the stage. As with a typical encore, the band began her song, and then she appeared to sing it.
The very last song, still a part of the encore she had started, was “I Disagree” (I Disagree, 2020). This was the song that the fans had mentioned from the very beginning of the show, all the way until the moment she played it. Something cool about this song particularly is that it has a reprise of some of the lyrics from “Don’t Go Outside.” Just as quickly as she started the song, she finished and left the stage. Her band finished out the song, and just like that, the show was brought to a close.
This show was very lively, fun and heavy. The songs were a mix of some sweet and powerful vocals, as well as heavy metal and styles. While those two things don’t typically go together, Poppy’s style blended these two elements together with ease. Every second, comments were flowing in, and this was a very involved fan chat. Ultimately, the experience was exciting, bright and definitely popped off!
Photo Credit: Ekaterina Gorbacheva