Kyla La Grange at Oslo Hackney
Fresh from a performance at Dot to Dot festival, Kyla La Grange walks on stage dressed with glowing fake flowers, neon balloons and hanging Barbies to perform the electronica-laden track Fly. Every bit the pop icon, La Grange’s performance is engaging and well prepared, punchy live drums give Fly a new energy in comparison to the heavily produced, recorded version.
With the help of her multi-talented band, La Grange builds grand musical layers with the rock staples of crashing cymbals mixed with droning synthesisers. As a unit, the band are able to create a range of sounds as 80s synths make way for the ringing of steel drums. Her haunting, high-pitched vocals are the staple of most of the tracks she performs and it’s a while before there’s any break at all in La Grange’s practised pop star performance.
When finally speaking to the audience she comes straight down to earth, but seems filled with a nervous energy at odds with how expertly she performs. Her nervousness is unjustified, however, as she creates instant rapport with the audience of which her parents, she informs us, are members. The audience themselves are surprisingly committed considering they know few of her songs, most of them coming from her forthcoming album Cut Your Teeth.
When performing from 2012’s Ashes, La Grange grabs a semi-acoustic and the band takes on a new dynamic. She seems to transform from pop star to frontwoman as the band begins performing more traditional five-piece fare, complete with screeching guitar solos and more hefty vocals from the natural performer. At times La Grange herself seems to forget that she is the focus as she tells her audience “this is our…my last song.”
For her encore, the singer leaves her band members behind and returns with only an acoustic guitar to play her oldest song, Vampire Smile. The song means plenty to the longtime fans, and it’s nice enough for everyone else until she endearingly forgets the words and is forced to skip to the last verse. But when La Grange performs her newer, more exciting tracks – like new single The Knife, or more atmospheric, stripped-back tracks like Heavy Stone – she is completely enthralling.
Joe Manners Lewis
For further information and future events visit Kyla La Grange’s website here.
Watch the video for The Knife here: