Photos by Katrina Lat
Despite playing to a capacity crowd at the Danforth Music Hall, both Lights and opener Tillie still brought an intimate feel to the evening thanks to the mostly acoustic sets they played.
Opener Tillie quickly endeared herself to the crowd with her charming F-bomb-laden between song banter and recounting stories about an abusive ex stealing her songs and having a meltdown at a Target in Texas. Leading the audience in a sing-along of a cover of Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Want to Have Fun’ was one of many highlights during her far too short set.
Sing-alongs seemed to be the unofficial theme of the evening as often, Lights, aka Valeria Anne Poxleitner, just let the audience take over vocal duties.
Lights was just three days into her Skin and Earth tour in support of her album of the same name and she commented that the shows just kept getting better. Skin and Earth is a concept album based on her graphic novel about a corporate ruled dystopian post-apocalyptic future.
The album’s tracks were recorded in environments that suited them, including a tunnel in a park in California that she had to hunt to find.
At one point, she admitted that the soap opera Passions led to her lifelong love of fantasy.
She fittingly took to the stage with ‘It All Starts here and early on, invited the audience to sing along as loudly as possible, something that they did often throughout her 90 minute set. By stripping down her songs, she revealed an almost Feist -like feel to many of them. If she continues to play gigs like this, this could be a potential package tour idea!
Poxleitner kept up an easy going stage banter, commenting that it wasn’t going to be a PG night after one person used “Frickin'”. Though the main focus of the evening was Skin and Earth, she took it back to ‘Motherfuckin’ 2008!” with ‘Drive My Soul’. She even went all the way back to the MySpace era for one song.
She recounted a story of getting an Uber to a gig in London, Ontario the night before and her driver telling her that if his teenage daughters ever came home with the bright red hair that she has, he would have given them a “Talking to”. This led her to telling him, “Express yourself, bitch!”
The visuals projected onto a backdrop never once distracted from the music. From star fields to rippling water and a loop of traveling along a desert highway, they were perfectly suited to the songs.
The band received tattoos before the show and Poxleitner received ink of a pair of breasts, leading her to dedicate ‘Lost Girls’ to small-busted women.
When the audience started shouting requests, she quipped that she was in a position of power knowing what she was going to play next, which led into ‘Muscle Memory’.
During the two song encore, she asked the audience to film and send her performing ‘Love Me’ and wrapped the evening with ‘Almost Had Me”.
Poxleitner showed that she’s come a long way since performing cover songs in Supermarket, a venue in Toronto’s Kensington Market. She still managed to make it feel like she was playing in a small venue for a few people, showing that she’s one of Canada’s most underrated singers.