Lana Del Rey live at iTunes Festival
- By Greg Rose -
- Sep 27, 2012
When you arrive buried beneath a hailstorm of hype, what happens after the dust settles and all that is left is a girl and a microphone? Red Room went to the iTunes Festival to see Lana Del Rey and find out.
It was refreshing entering a venue having no idea what to expect. Can Lana Del Rey really sing? Or is her whole act as manufactured as 1001 articles would have us believe? The show is a succinct reply to any such thoughts, stripped back of fanfare and concentrating on music. Del Rey wears blue jeans and a baggy Budweiser top as she saunters around stage singing 'Blue Jeans'. There's no beats, no shocks, just 50 minutes of playing stripped back songs.
Such has been the over-analysis of her every move, Lana Del Rey's live shows have been treated like major global events. So it is easy to forget she has only performed in this guise a handful of times. Also, her crowds have been full of middle-aged, male musos whereas her music aims more squarely at people several decades younger. They were out in force at this competition-winners-only gig, with screaming teens and handmade banners punctuating the set.
The adulation had a clear positive effect on Del Rey, whose voice grew in stature and found its space amongst the sparse piano and strings backing band. However, it also bit into several tracks, with the singer giggling over her lines and ocassionally skipping them entirely as she wandered into the front rows of the audience. This, while highly endearing, slightly spoiled 'Video Games', which was after all the song many people had came to hear. She needs to pace the set more intelligently, not leaving it top-heavy and liable to drift to its conclusion.
Del Rey has a few different voices and chose to use each one at various points, often within the same song. It can be frustrating, for example on 'Born To Die', when the high notes are skipped in favour of her dolorous, deeper tones. Nevertheless, she can sing very well, and has the kind of stage presence you can't teach. Squeals greeted her every gesture, as fans handed her cards and gifts between numbers.
Lana Del Rey is a pop star, a living embodiment of the bundle of paradoxes, masterstrokes and contradictions we demand from our idols. She may go on to be a great performer, but at the moment she falls short on delivery and craft. She's never dull though, and you yearn to know what she will do next. Let's wait and see.