Lights, DCF, and Chase Atlantic: The We Were Here Tour Experience

Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Two weeks ago, I saw Lights at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., as a part of her We Were Here U.S. Tour, and I’ve been trying to put into words my experience with the show.

Typically with reviews, I tend to write in third person in order to keep it as unbiased as possible. But how does doing that make any sense when a review is the writer’s honest opinion? Lately, when I have kept that third person mentality in the reviews I write, I have started to feel so detached– like what I’ve been saying is rehearsed. I’ve just been writing what’s expected, or saying the same things every other reviewer basically says.

But this time is different. You see, I’m going to tell you how my experience during Lights’s show influenced me to write my review in a more intimate, less formulaic way.

First of all, going into a Lights show, what one would probably expect is the opposite of what you’re going to get. The 9:30 Club is an iconic venue in D.C. due to its many performers over the years, and typically (or at least from what I’ve heard through the grapevine), you would think a lot of rock/alternative/punk groups play there. I went into the Lights show classifying it as one of those alternative acts, but the performance ended up being so much more.

Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Lights’s opening acts, solo artist DCF and the band Chase Atlantic, helped make this show different than expected. Both are far from what I would classify as rock. More so, it sounded more like what’s happening right now mainstream, with DCF highly reminding me of the rapper Logic, with the smooth flow of his voice rapping along to an interesting beat. Chase Atlantic had that rap aspect as well, but more so reminding me of a mix between Blackbear and The Weeknd. Their techno/electric sound is very similar to what you would typically hear from The Weeknd’s, however, instead of just singing, the group mixes in rap.

Chase Atlantic
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Going into this venue, I would have never expected the night to bring sound like this, but I was pleasantly surprised. Even though I don’t typically listen to musicians similar to Logic and The Weeknd, I found myself enjoying these two acts as openers. They definitely brought a lot of hype, with DCF asking throughout his set that the crowd sing along, and Chase Atlantic going wild with movement and jumping around.

When Lights finally came out, she couldn’t have been more different than these two other acts. Yet, at the same time, I could see a sort of connection. Maybe with the techno/electric style music. The line-up works with that similar musical sound.

Starting her set at 9:30 (I love how this was probably planned), Lights didn’t disappoint during the hour-long set. She included songs from her latest album, Skin & Earth, but also reverted back to some classics such as “February Air” from her debut album The Listening. The singer made sure to mention that it would be the last time she would perform the month-inspired song on this tour since the show at the 9:30 Club was her last performing date in February this year.

Lights brought out all the stops typical of a mainstream performer, which was highly impressive. She performed in front of a huge LCD screen that showed various clips depending on the song, and the performer even had an outfit change—this was probably the first time I saw that happen in a smaller venue like 9:30 Club. She also brought several props when she went acoustic, such as candles, to give the setting an intimate feel, and had a keyboard set-up at one point to showing just how musically talented she is.

Lights performing acoustic amidst her set
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Her fans went all-out with outfits influenced by the comic art that is a part of Lights’s Skin & Earth album. So the entire performance was just a spectacle—a show that demonstrated true dedication from not only the artist, but also the fans. There is no way to put into words the feeling you get until you see it live yourself. But even if you’re a new fan, you feel welcome.

LCD visual during Lights’s set
Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Now, this brings me back to the point of why I chose to change up this review and write it in first person. To put it simply, this show has influenced me to finally write how I feel. It showed me to expect the unexpected, and I’m hoping I threw a loop in the same way with this review. Also, I just needed a change where it comes to my writing—one that makes me excited to write this but also gives the show the review it deserves.

Now, my only regret is not personally meeting Lights, to thank her for putting on such a rad show and for such an awesome experience. I would love to thank her for being such a positive influence, for having a fan base that was kind and welcoming, even when they didn’t have to be. Her influence as an artist has definitely left an impact on who her fans are.

Lights deserves more credit, and it’s amazing to see all she has accomplished in her career, spanning a decade now. She is paving the way for smaller artists in a pop/electric-type genre performing at smaller venues. She is part of the genre change that is happening within smaller venues, and that makes her a powerful influence.

Photo by Jenna Kauffman

Lights has one date left on her U.S. tour before she transitions over to the Canadian leg starting March 27. You can check out tour dates here.

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