Lights spreads hope in Vancouver with ‘We Were Here’ tour

Lights with DCF and Chase Atlantic at the Vogue Theatre, 1/31/18

Photo by Sharon Steele

Almost 10 years since the release of her self-titled EP, Lights opened her We Were Here tour with two back-to-back nights in Vancouver at the Vogue Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday night (Jan. 30-31). Skin & Earth, her fourth full-length album, stays true to her electronic pop sound while celebrating her artistic growth with new addictive hooks and the creation of a post-apocalyptic world.

The 14 songs from this album follow along with her newest passion project – a comic of the same name. Inspired by her own love for the art, Lights created a six-issue comic series, complete with a storyline, lettering and coloured drawings. The story follows Enaia (En) Jin as she searches for hope in places hope seems lost.

With bright red hair to match the character of her creation, fans can’t help but notice the similarities between Lights and En – not only in appearance, but the way they view the world through what Lights describes in her comic as a dangerous blend of sadness and curiosity. Images from the comic were the theme throughout the show.

LIghts @ Vogue
Photos by Sharon Steele

First, Toronto-born DCF (a.k.a. David Charles Fischer) skipped onto the stage in a white and gold jacket, resembling a cross between an old English playwright and Lady Gaga circa 2008. The one-man production warmed up the crowd with catchy EDM beats and an acoustic Jack Johnson style cover of Paramore’s “Misery Business.”

Soon to follow was up-beat Australian band, Chase Atlantic, who got the crowd waving their hands in the air from their very first song, which was full of powerful vocals, electric guitar, pounding drum beats and saxophone. 

Kindly spread throughout the floor of Vogue Theatre, you could feel the racing hearts of a high-energy audience. It wasn’t long before the screen lit up in white-blue and a familiar figure’s shadow appeared in front of it. Opening with flawless performances of Skin & Earth hits “New Fears” and “Savage,” an abundance of voices yelled “I love you!” and “You’re beautiful!”

Lights took the show back in time with some of her biggest hits from earlier in her career, but awkward silence and staggered laughs spread throughout the crowd when her stage manager brought a pizza box toward her. As she opened the box and stuck her hand in, many were expecting to drool over a cheesy slice of pizza. Instead, they got the pleasant surprise of the first few pop-synth notes from 2014 hit “Up We Go.”

Lights @ Vogue
Photo by Sharon Steele

The stage went dark as people ran across it to make room for a table covered in orange-lit, cream-coloured candles. Lights walked toward the chair next to it with an acoustic guitar in hand, telling the enthusiastic crowd that she was going to take the mood down. In light of Bell Let’s Talk Day and the important discussion surrounding mental health, she introduced her song “Face Up” from her first full-length album The Listening. The haunting mix of silence and quietly singing voices filled up the room:

Look at the people all around you

The way you feel is something everybody goes through

Dark out, but you still gotta light up

You need to wake up, gotta keep your face up  

A few more acoustic ballads, upbeat hits, and a glass of white wine later, Lights ended her set with a song from her previous album, Little Machines. As she walked off stage, the unified question lingered across the faces of fans screaming for her to come back for just one more song: Is she going to play ‘Giants’? “Giants”, the first hit off her new album and a fan-favourite, was re-released last Saturday in four different languages – Japanese, Spanish, French and Tagalog. It’s the song that introduced us all to the Skin & Earth world, and one that fans hummed together while waiting in line for the doors to open. There was no way she could leave without performing it.

Lights only let a couple quick minutes pass before she hurried back to perform the encore fans cheered her on for, letting them know that this second night audience in Vancouver may have been even better than the first from the night before. Without even having to ask, the beginning music of “Giants” repeated as the stage lights flickered to match the rhythm. And the audience embraced each word that reminded them of a world where they, too, can be giants, bigger than the walls that hide them.

Lights @ The Vogue
Photo by Sharon Steele