Fox Theater, Oakland, March 27th, 2014

This girl was superb. Her sultry mezzo- soprano voice was simultaneously chilled and passionate; her black lipstick touched off a taste for the gothic I didn’t know I had. The subtly tasteful rhythms were brought into theatrical light by a fantastic live drummer. Lorde thrashed and flailed up a storm, as if to break through the inertia of thousands of kids too glued to their iPhones to move themselves.

I’m not sure the bulk of her fans understand Lorde—why they like her, why she’s so twitchy and weird. It was probably the first live concert ever attended for half the audience. Here is found one of the many charms of this whole experience: it isn’t clear Lorde understands herself either, or why her music resonates so strongly with so many. She’s a 17-year-old stepping into a brand new era of personal existence, and she’s taking the hand of every other young one out there to say, “We’ll do this together.”

If I sometimes wondered what I was doing there, trying to dance in a sea of teenagers who didn’t know what dancing was, the beginning of each new song recalled me to my joyful purpose. It’s a testament to her debut Pure Heroine that the first notes of every song inspired a rousing cheer from the crowd; every song on the album holds the feeling of “This is it! This is why I’m here! THIS song!” And Lorde herself certainly felt the same way, throwing herself with complete sincerity into just about every song she’s released to date. My personal highlight was how she opened the set: walking onstage by herself in strikingly simple slacks and wifebeater, then rocking “Glory & Gore.” This gangster-pop song about being a badass female segued awesomely into the lesser- known “Biting Down”: a brooding, stoney, almost tribal anthem that’s much more about the feeling than the words.

I suppose I should mention the first band at least once, although I really just want to wax worshipful on how hot Lorde is—that lion’s mane of bushy Hermione-hair just makes me swoon! The opening act Lo-Fang had apprently been discovered by Lorde herself, and were tonight playing their 18th show ever. This three-piece, while standing frustratingly in the way of everyone’s real reason for being present, was actually really good. Violins, guitars, beats and keyboards formed a rich, natural landscape highlighting the singer’s breathy pop vocals. They obviously adored Andrew Bird, and not having seen him live yet, Lo-Fang was a passable substitute.

Anyway, this show was worth every penny (and I spent many). I still have my confetti bits, individually printed with the popstar’s profile. Lorde is indisputably the Queen Bee, and will remain so for a long while.

Photo by Mat Hayward

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Alex Light loves the ladies and rules your life.