Review: Lights brings warmth from Canada to the State Theatre in St. Petersburg
Leave it to ever-smiling 24-year-old Valerie Poxleitner to turn an album titled Siberia into a joyfully danceable, sunlit adventure. That's exactly how it played out Friday night when Poxleitner, commonly and legally known as Lights (eat your heart out, Chad Ochocinco), debuted tracks off her latest disc and more to a glowing St. Pete crowd.
Siberia, currently nominated for a Juno Award (a.k.a. Canadian Grammy) in the "Pop Album of the Year" category, is for the most part, heavier than Lights' previous efforts, with its dubstep-like breakdowns, pulsing beats and snowy imagery.
But when the skinny, soft-spoken singer/guitarist/keyboardist unveiled the tunes at State Theatre (her first appearance at the venue since 2008, when she performed with Lakeland's beloved and now defunct Copeland), the vibe never turned cold or dark.
On the powerhouse anthem Flux and Flow, Lights went bigger and harder with throbbing keys, strobe lighting, and an arena-worthy belt ... not without words of encouragement, though. Through the ups and downs in life (the "flux and flows"), Lights urged us to adjust our plans and keep moving.
The irresistible Toes came off like a dance track for hopeless romantics with some added spacey effects, while title track Siberia may just as well have been named Bora Bora. "I would sail across the east sea, just to see you on the far side," she sang.
Lights went solo on the keys for Siberia ballad Heavy Rope. During these soft, lovely few minutes, you could almost hear a pin drop. Similarly, Lights' acoustic performance of Cactus in the Valley was strummy and feathery, and showed her aptitude as a songwriter.
When Lights reverted back to tracks off The Listening, like the bubbly Ice (which drew heavy crowd karaoke), the empathetic Face Up, or the bright, bursting encore Lions, she solidified her place as the Warped Tour set's beacon of hope and, well ... light.
Lights told tbt* in an interview back in 2010 that she strives to make “good, positive pop, perfect for sing-alongs.”
By god, we think she's done it.
-- Carole Liparoto, tbt*