By A&E Editor Sawyer Pollitt
“And opening tonight: Charlie Parker!” said two young men standing in the February cold on one Tuesday night. They were college-aged, dressed like they took Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop” as gospel, and they were the exact kind of people who would wait outside to see internet sensation turned metal musician, Poppy.
The ragtag line of concert-goers who stretched down the sidewalk and around the corner had one unique characteristic in common, and that was a complete lack of aesthetic consistency. Nowhere was that more evident than with my own party.
From punk to prep to craft-beer-connoisseur, no one looked like they belonged together. Aside from the music itself, this was the most memorable aspect of the entire show. There was an extreme sense of community among people who have no right being anywhere near each other.
I set up shop in the back of the venue near the relative safety of the sound booth, giving myself a clear view of the stage. As a sea of people began to form ahead of me and the band took to the stage, shouts of “Poppy! Poppy!” consumed the hall.
The energy was already electric by the time Poppy took the stage and her opening number Concrete exploded in a burst of sound and light. Minimal yet effective strobes and backlighting made Poppy appear as a shadow backed by a mirror that reflected the audience back onto itself.
From the moment she began to sing, and the band began to play, there was a constant “good vibe” that permeated the room. The crowd was rowdy yet at ease and completely comfortable. This perception may have been affected by the three drinks that were already in me by that point, but the atmosphere was certainly a strange blend of high-energy and mellow.
The technical skill of both Poppy and her backing band was excellent and allowed for a seamless performance throughout the night. The sound mixing, which I normally find issue with when listening to live shows, was above average and at no point did I feel that any one sound unjustly overpowered another.
The show concluded almost as quickly as it began. The ragtag crowd filtered out of the venue and back into the cold February air. The debut of this new age of Poppy was exciting, and enjoyable. Some however, may have questions as to how Poppy came to be, and what she is doing now.
Born Moriah Rose Pereira, Poppy has released several studio albums, the most recent of which being I Disagree, released through Sumerian Records. The work on this LP along with some of the heavier selections from 2018’s Am I a Girl?, formed the track list for the evening.
Those who are only familiar with Poppy’s original aesthetic of a pseudo-robotic character, who sat somewhere in the uncanny valley while dealing out heavy handed social commentary, would be surprised to see her new look. Poppy now embodies a pop-metal sound and fashion, and for this listener, this seems to be closer to how she wants to portray herself.
This could be due to her recent split with her longtime producer Titanic Sinclair, who had a hand in cultivating the “YouTube” image that most know her by.
Prior to the release of I Disagree, Poppy announced her split from her producer saying “As some of you know, my former creative partner and I have parted ways…” She goes on to describe manipulative tactics used by Sinclair to maintain their working relationship, finishing her statement with “This is not a request for sympathy and I am not a weak victim, but this is me setting the record straight. I am happier than I have ever been and I am excited to move forward.”
Following this statement, and following the massive upheaval of her sound and aesthetic with I Disagree, I am eagerly awaiting the next project that Poppy drops whether it be audio or visual. If you are able to catch Poppy on tour, it is definitely an experience worth having.