A ray of sunshine came to blistering Brooklyn on January 26, in the form of Chicago dream pop singer Lala Lala. In the back venue of the famous Rough Trade Records, anticipation was brewing. Though I had never seen Lala Lala live, I had a feeling from the looks of her crowd that she was well worth coming out for. The people standing beside me had gotten their friends into her addictive, stripped down ballads, and a group farther down had been waiting anxiously for this show for months. When the room had almost reached its capacity, a good half hour before the first act went on, I knew that I was really in for something truly special.
Fielded was the first opener, peaking the interest of the crowd with her soft, yet electrifying, tunes. Originally a solo project created by Lindsay Powell, her experimental pop has since grown. It was Fielded’s first time playing with a full band that night, though you could not tell. Powell acted with poise, engaging with the crowd and making everyone feel as intimate as her lyrics. Sen Morimoto won over many new fans with his dreamy saxophone and powerful rhymes, bringing the sweet street talk of Chicago to the east coast. Though there were a couple of technical difficulties with his keyboards, he pushed through with a smile, his smooth vocals reigning supreme. As he sauntered around stage, you could tell just how fortunate he felt to be there. That kind of passion is always appreciated.
By the time Lala Lala finally came on, the room was more than ready to welcome her with open arms. Despite the cold she was coming down with, which she laughed off as a sign of “pure joy”, Lala Lala put on an performance that exceeded all of my expectations. She played through classics from The Lamb, wooing us with the dreamy murmurs in “Water Over Sex” and the passionate cries of “I Get Cut”—a tune near impossible not to put your entire body into. The guitar riffs in “Copycat”, which have become my go-to when I’m in need of some slow angst, were all the more incredible in person. You could feel Lala Lala’s playing with everything in you—a sure sign of the grace she exuded.
As I watched from the back of the room, the pale spotlights shining down on her, I couldn’t help but smile. Eyes closed in concentration, tattooed fingers moving up and down her guitar, turquoise hair glimmering ever so brightly, Lala Lala looked utterly and truly ephemeral. She was an indie angel in that moment - one that I was so fortunate to get to see perform her art in person. As the show came to a close with the gritty “Destroyer”, the smiles on the people around me assured me that I wasn’t alone in that thought. It is safe to say that Lala Lala left New York feeling a little warmer on a cold winter’s night.