Walking into the Powerstation last night in Auckland to see YouTube phenomenon-turned international performer Lindsey Stirling, I saw the most packed out, excitable crowd I have witnessed at the venue to this date.
With a surprisingly diverse but predominantly young (20-30yr) audience, it is clear that Lindsey's unique musical expressions have drawn in a contemporary fan base who are open minded and eager for something new.
The stage was set up with a keys section for Gavi and drum set for Drew who both have been playing with Lindsey since her first show in New York, 2012. They left as much space between them as possible on the humble sized stage for Lindsey to work her multi-dimensional performance magic. Lindsey is famous for engaging viewers with her intricate violin scores whilst she dances free spiritedly and whole heartedly to the trance, drum and bass and dubstep beats that are produced with her work. Most of the scores are original, all are authentic.
The moment she came on stage and broke into Beyond The Veil was incredibly moving, a powerful opening song and the expression of pure joy on her face as she performed with 100% energy from the band was an unforgettable first encounter with the undeniably progressive artist.
Lindsey introduced me to the most kinetic performance I have seen; during the first 5 songs she literally leapt and spun around the stage falling into backbends which turned into high kicks, all necessarily placed with the sound. While you may think this sounds contrived or over the top it's the opposite, nothing about Lindsey or her choreography seems forced.
At first quarter she had a conversation with the audience which turned out to be one of a few staggered throughout the evening. She became approachable with the audience quickly, introducing her love of New Zealand and the stories behind some of her songs. She went on to play Lord of the Rings for us which she spontaneously realised was necessary 5 minutes before she came on stage. She admitted to a bit of a freak out about forgetting the middle section (she nailed it). She then introduced us to a cover of the Japanese song Sebonzakura that she learnt in time for the Japan leg of her tour.
The structure of her set and personable connection she made with the audience had the essence of a classical concert with the energy and freedom of a contemporary gig. She mastered this fusion beautifully and maybe unintentionally, but with her background being classical it makes sense that stage etiquette has stuck. There was a break down section of the concert where the band sat down and played more acoustically with the exchange of the drum set for the box drum; this break was probably beneficial for Lindsey who must be as, if not more fit than the Black Eyed Peas.
I was excited though when the lights went back to electric blue and a costume change to black leather like fabric made for a dramatic lift in energy. One of her more heavy songs, Moon Trance was played in front of a video of gravestone wandering zombies. Lindsey's creative videos often resemble short films, she admitted that sometimes the song is written subsequently to the video concept being developed. She continued to open up to the audience and showed her inspirational speaker side talking about her new single Shatter Mewhich is the story of her breaking out of a depression caused by striving for perfection and coming through it to show her unique self. This followed by her song about hope, Transcendence, made the last part of the show really uplifting.
Lindsey and her band are truly cool performers and so diverse on stage going from serious to playful all in a one and a half hour set. The mix of edgy beats, commercial trance and Celtic violin is something new and exciting to my ears. Lindsey said it best, "the world is truly a better place when we share what makes us different, not what makes us the same."
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
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After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.