Singer and audience both enjoyed each other’s company last night as 23 year old rising pop star Lauv played to a hugely enthusiastic crowd at Auckland’s Power Station, in his only New Zealand show of 2018.
The San Francisco born Lauv teased his audience at the start with a taste of his big hit “I Like Me Better”, and returned to the song at the end of the show. In between he danced and sang his way through a series of catchy pop songs, all of them dealing, as he said, with how complicated love can be. The songs are keyboard and drum driven, with Lauv offering occasional licks of guitar, all adding up to pop that is easily accessible – as it should be – and hard not to move to. Only a new song, Paranoid, by far the darkest number of the night, and the ballad The Story Never Ends, took the audience away from the dance mood. Lauv’s voice operates at both a mid and an upper range, and he seems to move between the two effortlessly. (My last visit to The Power Station was to see David Duchovny, so the contrast in vocal ability was bound to make an impression)
Lauv is an engaging and open hearted performer, and it’s hard not to like the guy. He gently – and endearingly -mocked his own dancing skills, but in fact he carried this part of his act off with ease. Like most performers, he thanked his audience profusely for coming out to support him, but given this was a Monday night, and given how raucously he was greeted, and how well everyone knew his songs and sang along with him, his gratitude seemed genuine. Check out Crave!’s interview with Lauv on February 20 and you’ll get a sense that this is a guy with his feet still on the ground.
Being considerably older than most of the audience there, one aspect of the show which struck me was the degree to which audience and performer share the experience, in this social media-aware age. They took photos of him, and his photographers were on stage taking photos of them. There was a huge selfie taken with the audience behind him, and Lauv also asked his audience to write down some thoughts on the night and leave them behind after the show. Some may have ended up in his blog.
The set was expertly delivered by Lauv, drummer Rob Ernst and keyboard player Victoria Aycock, but sadly the same did not happen for opening act LA Women. The young Auckland trio had two computer break downs and a guitar problem, and ended their set playing just their instruments. What a radical idea! Also purveyors of catchy pop, this last song was, to my older ears, much the better for not having a pre-programmed element to it, and it was the song I enjoyed the most. They’re young and talented, and worth keeping an eye on over the next little while.