Almost three years after she last played Brighton, Canada’s songstress of synthpop was back at the Haunt for another sold out show. It also happened to be the first night of her UK tour and her fans – the self-proclaimed Lights Army, some who’d travelled from as far away as Germany – had begun queuing in the freezing cold since early afternoon. Three years is a long time between gigs and with a newly released album to promote there was a palpable expectation in the room.
Not surprisingly, LIghts and her three-piece band were given the very warmest of welcomes when they took the stage, a stage filled with no less than seven keyboards. But while synths shape the songs, it’s Lights’ voice – part Kate Bush, part Ellie Goulding that give them their personality.
She opened with the brooding, synth-heavy ‘Muscle Memory’ Next up were ‘Toes’ and ‘Siberia’ a couple of tracks from the last album and a fitting reference to the arctic conditions outside, before blasting off the cobwebs with new single ‘Running With The Boys’ a sparkling slice of fist-pumping power pop that deserves to be a big hit.
Moving between guitar and keyboards, Lights cuts a pixieish figure onstage, clearly pleased to be back playing live she leads her high-energy band through more tracks from the new record, each featuring propulsive beats and ear-worm hooks. The pick of the bunch were the emotive ballad ‘Oil And Water’ which almost takes Lights into Lana Del Ray country and the closer, the optimistic and undeniably uplifting pop anthem ‘Up We Go’ that had everyone singing.
There’s no denying Lights has some great songs and puts on a good show. What she now needs more than anything else is a hit single. There are two or three on ‘Little Machines’ that could do it for her. With a radio hit under her belt, she could easily crack the UK. Without it, we may have to wait a while before she returns.