State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Lights: Musician, or Superhero? (Show Review)

Appropriately dressed as Lightning from Final Fantasy XIII, Lights played a show at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Halloween. As many of her fans know- through songs, interviews, video blogs, and artwork-Lights has always looked up to and aspired to be a superhero. While I went to the show simply expecting a quality concert, I was left feeling as if I had just travelled through a story with Lights as the superhero protagonist.

The adventure begins as the stage lights dim. The audience cheers in excitement for the heroine, knowing she is on the way to save the day. The heroine of our story is Lights, a 27-year-old electropop songstress from Canada, whose arsenal includes synths, guitars, effects pedals, a powerful voice, and the ability to capture emotions and turn them into songs.

Lights takes the stage joined by her group of trusty sidekicks Adam Weaver, Maurie Kaufmann, and Brodie Tavares. The story is off to a fast, upbeat start. Layers of exotic sounds and descriptive storytelling guide us through foreign places (“Siberia”, “Where The Fence Is Low”). Though we may be familiar with most of the songs, experiencing them live and with new elements can often be enough to throw even the most seasoned fans off guard; the freshness is exhilarating and makes us eager to explore, see, and hear more. On our adventure, we encounter moments of strength (“Speeding”), tales of love (“Toes”), and messages of positivity (“The Last Thing On Your Mind”). But this journey is not without times of loss (“Oil and Water”) and periods of doubt (“Drive My Soul”).

These story elements remind us of something we often forget: all heroes have human traits. Lights endures personal struggles, longs for time that has passed, and tries to remember her purpose here on earth. “I’m not kidding when I say I had the worst day ever, so thank you,” she smiles. “I needed this.” She’s not invincible, but neither is any superhero. Lights captures emotions so well because she feels them so strongly. What some may consider a weakness becomes her strength. And in a way, she reminds us of ourselves too. We’ve all had ups and downs, victories and failures…We’re always looking to make our place in the world. We can see ourselves in heroes, which is part of what makes them so important. Before playing “Running With The Boys,” she spoke of a concept that is all-too-familiar to many: the desire to be a kid again. “When you’re 8 [years old], you don’t understand how great it is to be 8. This song is about that.” Maybe we’re not so different after all.

As always, our heroine has words of wisdom for all to hear: “Life is about having fun. If you’re not enjoying the moment, then you’re not doing it right.” And there she goes. Off to another town, a different city, helping others in need. In the end, we’ve only gotten a short period of time with Lights. But really, that’s all we need, and we will wait until we see our heroine again.

Check out our interview with Lights.