Lights - Scala, London
Canadian electro pop genius Lights last toured the UK back in the summer of 2010, promoting her debut album The Listening. I was fortunate to see the singer at shows in London's tiny Underbelly venue and the slightly bigger Water Rats during this period, so was looking forward to view the vocalist once more at the capital's Scala, the final date of her current UK visit.
The show was originally meant to be held at Cargo but due to an overwhelming demand for tickets the gig was moved to the far larger venue, where a capacity crowd eagarly awaited the singer's entrance
As a photographer you never know what to expect from the venue as sometimes they have a photo pit in place and other times you have to slum it, squeezing your way to the front with the rest of the crowd. As luck would have it the pit was in place for the singer but the venue's lights weren't doing her any justice as they were pretty dark for most of our three song allocation, which was a shame as the singer is extremely photogenic. It wasn't all bad though as I got to hear 'Ice' up close from the pit, complete with extended opening.
The song came after set opener 'Banner' and 'Fourth dimension' and is my favourite Lights track, especially due to its terrific tongue twisiting middle eight that throws in an "ice ice baby" at the end for good measure!
My second fave actually followed 'Ice', with the singer leaving her keyboard set up to cry's of 'I love you' from the crowd, strapping on a guitar for standalone single 'My Boots'. The track appeared in 2010 but I didn't warm to it for some reason when it was unveiled. The song has really made an impression on me recently though and 'My Boots' are now well worn in!
By this point I had left the pit and was strugglng to find somewhere to stand as the venue was pretty heaving. I eventually settled on a position on the balcony and took in the rest of the performance from there.
A lot of Lights set was taken from her forthcoming sophomore release Siberia. The album has been out back home since last year, finally hitting these shores next month. You wouldn't have thought this was the case though at the Scala as each Siberia song was greeted with a great reception, with the likes of 'Flux and Flow', Canadian single 'Everybody Breaks a Glass' and the album's title track sung back at the singer from her ecstatic audience.
A lot of songs in the Scala set were fairly beat driven like 'Where the Fence is Low' and 'Suspension' but there were still a bit of time for more reflective fayre, with Lights delivering an exquisite solo performance of debut album The Listening's track 'Drive my Soul', leading to one of the highlight's of the night as I always love hearing her vocals with a stripped down backing.
This was the final gig of the Siberia tour and the singer had declared it one of the greatest nights of her life before her rendition of 'Drive...' and was still raving about the evening as the show drew to a close eight songs later, after a stunning rendition of 'Toes', stating it was the biggest show she had ever played overseas, promising to come to the UK far more in the future.
The night finished with an encore of one of the singer's most well known songs - 'Second Go', followed by another treat in the shape of another stripped down track, with the singer ending the set taking to her acoustic guitar for 'Cactus in the Valley', a song written while she was hanging out in Brighton, leading to slightly subdued end to the evening but a memorable one at that.
Lights continues touring with a trip across the States in April and is also visiting Austin's SXSW Festival in a couple of weeks. The Fix are off on our hols to Texas so may well report back from one of the singer's sets, schedule allowing!