Review and photographs by Jess Ayotte
On Saturday, Manhattan’s Central Park hosted Canada Day International 2013, a festival of events held to showcase the best of Canadian music, culture, food and attractions. This year, Canadian artists performed at Central Park’s Summer Stage in Rumsey Playfield, a City Parks Foundation that offers over 100 free concerts throughout the summer.
Headlining the celebration was electro-rock singer/songwriter Lights. Originating in Toronto, Lights released her debut album, The Listening, in 2009, introducing the Canadian music scene to a new blend of alternative rock and synth pop. After receiving the 2009 Juno Award for New Artist of the Year, Lights’ popularity spread across Canada and into Europe. In 2011, she released Siberia, featuring a more mature sound than her debut. More recently, she released Siberia Acoustic, transforming 10 of the 14 tracks from Siberia into acoustic melodies with a transitional sound from the original songs.
Back on May 14, Lights performed at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom, playing all acoustic songs in a tranquil and composed setting. Since everyone was seated, there was not much energy from the crowd, but Lights picked up the energy on stage. Although the set-up was out of the ordinary, she managed to put on a powerful and engaging performance that left me satisfied with the experience. After seeing Lights back in May on her Siberia Acoustic tour, I wasn’t too sure what to expect from a live synth-pop performance.