Battle Of The Bands Round Two: LIGHTS

Aragon Ballroom – Chicago, IL
April 30, 2010

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Second to take the stage at last Friday night’s “Battle of the Bands” was LIGHTS. Also known as Canadian songstress Valerie Poxleitner, LIGHTS has become a force to reckon with in the electro-synthpop, new wave world of modern music. This girl is yet another wildly talented singer/songwriter who was included in the lineup for the evening, sandwiched between Paper Route and Owl City. LIGHTS recreated many of the recorded versions of her songs for the live show, which brilliantly displayed the full belting potential of her normally soft and airy vocal chops.

More photos of LIGHTS and the set list after the jump…

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Set List / Chicago
The Listening
February Air
Second Go
Face Up
Drive My Soul
The Last Thing On Your Mind

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Though a true concert aficionado appreciates her blatant ability to sing live and play her own instruments, LIGHTS struggles to consistently fuse her lyrics to her electropop sound. It was not until halfway through her set list that songs (clearly her well-known hits) started jumping out, demanding the attention of the audience. If she can achieve more diversity with all of her tunes, LIGHTS will experience the success she deserves. During her performance in Chicago last weekend, LIGHTS appeared to be in danger of falling under the Nickelback (also Canadian!) syndrome: having a catalog of songs that all sound too much alike.

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When Old Navy licensed a few songs from LIGHTS’ 2008 self-titled EP, this talented songwriter’s Canadian frenzy quickly spread to the United States. Next came a key placement of “Drive My Soul” on MTV’s The Hills. More songs were written and released to the public on 2009 debut full-length album The Listening. With new tunes to play and promote, LIGHTS has gained momentum touring with her band that also includes Adam Weaver on synthesizers and Maurie Kaufmann on drums. LIGHTS is responsible for vocals, synthesizer, and keytar. Fans were treated to a newly written piece of music called “Violence” at the concert, which LIGHTS mentioned was inspired by the video game World of Warcraft.

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LIGHTS put on a decent, but not so memorable show. As an audience, we do not want to hear how tired you are from touring. We simply want to hear your music being played as if we were the first city on your tour. Point blank, LIGHTS gave a lackluster performance and was quite frankly saved by the dexterity of her musical talent. Even though the sounds that comprise her songs are created on computers in her bedroom, LIGHTS surprisingly (and refreshingly) does not use the omnipresent Auto-Tune effect that has saturated radio airwaves in the past few years. This girl can really sing, which was undoubtedly the highlight of her set.

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Written by: Kate Jacobsen
Photographed by: Jennifer Boyer

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  1. Anna says:

    I really enjoyed LIGHTS! I was so excited to see her!

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