Pop is a polarizing genre. I have been on both sides of the argument, debating its merit in the contemporary American music scene, especially in a Top 40 context. But that certainly doesn’t exempt me from loving the tried and true mix of catchy hooks, simple melodies, and great vocals. With Lostboycrow opening for Vérité at the Echo on Thursday night, I got all that and more.
Lostboycrow gave a rousing performance. He was high energy, staying at the lip of the stage most of the night, eliciting excited shrieks from smitten women around the room. His all-white ensemble perplexed me, but I did my best to look past the bulging thigh pockets on his pants that were probably big enough to transport a newborn.
His musical style was quite similar to Vérité, with electro pop influences under his sweetly high pitched voice. His set consisted of more than a few love ballads, but the synths gave them a fresh flavor; standout tracks included “Love Won’t Sleep” and “Thursday,” his latest single. Lostboy’s vocal range left a little to be desired, but in retrospect that made it that much more exciting to hear the final act of the night.
Kelsey Byrne walked onstage that night during the intro to “Echo,” the title track of her debut EP, much to my delight. Not only is that release near and dear to my heart, but who doesn’t enjoy a subtle joke like opening your set at the Echo with a track of the same name? That said, she did stumble (figuratively) a bit at first, getting caught in the odd stage configuration and readjusting the mics, but came through in a huge way during “Colors.” She used three mics to create all the nuances in the studio mixes during the performance, and it paid off.
Byrne said several times that she was impressed with the crowd that night, but she didn’t explain what she meant. She gave no sign of being a sarcastic cynic, so she probably wasn’t commenting on the obnoxiously loud group that drowned out the intro to “Underdressed.” The show sold out, so she couldn’t have been referring to the turnout. The energy in the room was off the charts, but a little over a year ago she sold out a show at the Echoplex, the Echo’s big brother (able to hold about 300 more people), which must have been insane. But maybe I’m overanalyzing. Vérité just loves her fans.
If I counted correctly, she played nearly every song in her catalogue, ending the night with a crowd favorite, “Weekend.” Vérité just released her Living EP about a month ago, bringing Hype Machine to its knees at the release of each new single. This was her third EP in about eighteen months, an impressive pace for an artist of any caliber. The show that night was the last in a tour supporting the new release, and now I expect she’ll retreat back to home in Brooklyn to rest up, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we heard more from her sooner rather than later.