Blissfully ethereal, last night Caroline Polachek transformed the already sublime environs of the Greek Theatre into one soaked in her moodily kinetic brand of ambient indie-pop. Marking the return of a new season of live music to the iconic Los Angeles venue, the multi-project juggling singer/songwriter and producer offered a transfixing and emotional set of her 2019 album Pang. Polachek — a seasoned performer who cut her teeth on early projects like the co-founded indie-pop act Chairlift, as well as two additional solo side projects of her own in Ramona Lisa and CEP — had no problem in enveloping fans in the sonorous soundscapes of “The Gate” and “Look At Me Now.”
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From the depths of her more atmospherically dark tracks to the slicker, pop drivers like crowd favorite “So Hot You’re Hurting My Feelings” and recent bop of a single “Bunny Is A Rider” (a live debut), Polachek shines the more her brand of intimate and cathartic confessional electronica becomes less and less easy to pin down. Onstage she is frenetic, a trembling and passionate crooner that launches her piercing croon straight into the atmosphere. Bathed in silhouettes and beams of light that cut dark contrasts across her face, contoured in remembrance to the pain that inspired the very songs she was singing, Polachek was purely ardent.
And the night was not without its guests — Christine and the Queens made a surprise appearance, with both singers giving an otherworldly duet of “La vita nuova.” But as if that wasn’t enough, Charlie XCX also showed up alongside Polachek to sing “Tears” on which the latter was featured.
Alex G and Molly Lewis opened up for Polachek at the Greek Theatre. Alex and his indie-rock outfit burned it up performing songs off their album House of Sugar, a zoned-out, spacey record that pushes the sonic limits of its bedroom-pop meanderings. Blistering riffs burned from beyond a wall of noisy guitars and wails on their more raucous tracks, while songs like “Hope” bounced along on its folksy-quip of a medley and “Near” droned endlessly with its off-kilter transmissions.
Lewis herself was spellbinding — from the gentle wisps of instruments that flutter alongside one another in the melodies of her songs to her own beguiling (and legendary) whistle. Playing songs from her stellar new EP The Forgotten Edge, wherein Lewis’ clarion of a whistle takes center stage — spinning, coiling, and fox-trotting around equally dazzling instrumentals.
Words / Photos by Steven Ward