Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Brighton Music Hall; Boston, MA
Review and photos by Kara Kokinos
Last Wednesday, LOLO took the stage at Brighton Music Hall in Boston, bringing a solid set of power ballads and dance jams. Her set started off with the angry, heartbreak driven “Heard It From A Friend,” Donning a fur coat, the petite singer belted her lungs out, welcoming the enthusiastic crowd forward. If you are unfamiliar with the singer, her 2013 video for the song is a fantastic introduction. Rhythmic and self-driving, the track carries the same energy across live. And if her killer voice seems familiar, you have probably heard it on Panic! At The Disco’s, “Miss Jackson,” “Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” as well as the original cast recordings of “Spring Awakening”.
Not afraid to get close to the crowd, the singer had beckoned those in attendance towards the stage and discarded restrictive layers and fallen to her knees by the middle of her second song, “Comeback Queen.” The performance aspect of LOLO’s set is not to be understated. Clapping along with the track, dramatic gesturing, eye contact with the audience, and ripping through her vocals all seemed to be second nature to Pritchard. “Comeback Queen” is an incredibly danceable track that calls for gospel backup vocalists and invokes plenty of “girl power” imagery.
This badassery was highlighted not only on her more upbeat tunes. With touring guitartist Josh Hoisington, the duo live mixed some beats and slashed through pre-recorded tracks but on the slower tracks they performed, including new track “The Courtyard” and “I Don’t Wanna Have to Lie,” there was a clear ache behind the words being sung. It would be difficult to compete with LOLO’s vocals but on her slower songs, they were given the opportunity to glisten against the more basic guitar/piano backings. That being said, there was an incredible build to every track performed that night as well as a clear narrative that went into the writing and performance.
Straddling the soul and alternative rock genres, LOLO’s writing is incredibly nuanced and with an obvious jazz atmosphere within a pop track. While on her recorded material the singer’s power is more implicit and backed by more muted instrumentals, her live material is full of raw energy. Closing out the night, LOLO’s “Hit & Run” brought the same hard hitting energy as her opening two tracks, with the attitude of a late 2000s Carrie Underwood with the gritty tone of Juliet Simms. LOLO’s unabashed gesturing and use of the smaller Brighton Music Hall Stage transformed the venue. It was impossible not to be sucked into the space she created.
While on the shorter side, LOLO’s set packed a hefty punch and her natural stage presence reminded me of a set I caught from Halsey at a small, coffeeshop venue at the start of her career. If the new tracks that were performed that night, “Devil’s Gone to Dinner” and “No Time For Lonely,” are any indicator, it shouldn’t be long until LOLO is on everyone’s radar.