Entertainment

A damaged foot, a broken-down tour bus, an ‘electrocuted’ opening act — nothing will maintain Lights from doing what she loves


Lights busts out the “C-word” so shortly that I don’t even need to.

Get your minds out of the gutter, you filth pigs: the phrase in query is “cursed.” Which, for the file, the 905-bred, now Vancouver-based electro-pop Queen of the Geeks — we love you, Lady Gaga, however there could be just one — volunteers in reference to her present “Baby I’m Back” highway present properly earlier than this outdated pal and fellow lover of all issues fantastical, horrifying and customarily falling beneath the “occult” banner has an opportunity to make the joke throughout a catch-up dialog carried out from the Lights tour bus between sound verify and showtime on an unusually sunny afternoon in Minneapolis.

“Some would call it ‘cursed,’ but it’s still been incredible,” stated Lights, reflecting on a 26-date return to the touring path that has up to now survived: a devastating long-distance farewell to her cat of 18 years; the latest, irreparable “bricking” of a treasured laptop computer loaded with of scads of irretrievable music and artwork in progress; the delicate, mercifully non-lethal electrocution of opener tiLLie earlier than a present in Texas; a damaged foot incurred while leaping into the group on the finish of a gig in Boston whereas sporting platform sneakers; and the following, full breakdown of the aforementioned tour bus someplace within the boonies throughout the 10-hour drive between Kansas City and Denver late final week. She and “all the girls” making up the pointedly 50 per cent feminine Baby I’m Back crew (“I’m horrified to say it’s the first time in my 15-year career that I have equality on the bus, but it’s a f—in’ vibe and it’s the way it always should have been,” she famous) had been huddled on the again watching the brutal horror flick “Martyrs,” no much less.

No one was dismembered by a slasher or a gang of “Hills Have Eyes”-esque cannibal mutants, mercifully, and never a date was missed as a consequence of plenty of professional logistical scrambling on Team Lights’ half. But that also hasn’t quelled chatter amongst all concerned of a tour curse.

“This is the f—ed up part. At the beginning of the tour, I broke my mirror here in the back lounge. And then bad sh– started to happen in succession after that and everybody wants to blame the mirror,” laughed Lights. “Everybody wants to blame the mirror and it pisses me off. And I’m keeping the f—ing mirror because we’ve moved past these old-school superstitions. People used to think female orgasms were hysteria. We don’t think like people did 100 years ago. Things are different now. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m stubborn, but I’m keeping this mirror. I’m looking at it right now and it’s broken and I’m f—ing keeping it. That’s the end of the story. F— superstition.”

Presuming she’s not struck by lightning or kidnapped by aliens between at times, this Saturday will mark a triumphant return to outdated GTA stomping grounds for the 35-year-old singer, synth-tickler and someday comic-book artist.

Not solely has Lights offered out her May 7 gig on the fancy new east-end History venue on the power of an totally devoted fan base and her gleaming new Twenty first-century pop masterwork “PEP,” but in addition a 1 a.m. efficiency to comply with throughout city on the Garrison by her bass-shocked alter ego LUN. The latter, chargeable for final 12 months’s punishingly heavy EDM EP “haha i like it,” has by no means made an look earlier than a crowd earlier than.

“It’s me through and through, but it’s not Lights,” she stated of LUN. “It’s going to be chaotic, but it’ll be a great f—ing tour ender. It’s the first time I’ve toured where I’m not ready to go home yet.”

To say Lights — born Valerie Poxleitner, however formally Lights Poxleitner-Bokan since her marriage in 2012 to Blessthefall’s Beau Bokan, with whom she had daughter Rocket in 2014 — has developed into a very singular pressure over the previous 15 years is a little bit of an understatement.

She’s gone from being the sweet-voiced pop outlier on native indie hardcore label Underground Operations, who made 2009’s head-turning debut “The Listening,” to a kind of residing multimedia artwork undertaking. Her final album, 2017’s “Skin & Earth,” got here with a six-part comedian collection written and illustrated by Lights herself, and whereas this 12 months’s aggressively (if deceptively) upbeat “PEP” — a gleamingly tuneful talisman towards darkish up to date instances — didn’t indulge her non-musical ambitions to fairly the identical extent it nonetheless finds the cosplay-loving nerdy-girl-at-heart growing the ever-expanding Lights universe even additional.

There’s a 16-page mini-comic “filled with Easter eggs” to associate with “PEP,” in fact, and the movies and paintings up to now all mess around with the idea of one thing known as the Clinic. You can dive in as deeply as you need, or you may merely sit again and benefit from the music — which is arguably the most effective and most assured the eternally DIY-driven Lights has ever produced.

“I’ve immersed ‘PEP’ into the ‘Skin & Earth’ world if that’s something you’re interested in. But if you’re not, ‘PEP’ is still just ‘PEP’ and me going overboard with a pep talk,” she stated. “I understand my place as a musician. I’m here to help you escape. Reality f—ing blows.

“If you’re a fan of Lights, you get more than just music. That’s just what I do because I have so much more to offer. And again, if you only like to listen to the music, that’s there. But I like to appeal to that side of fans who really enjoy digging in and just escaping. That’s why fantasy fans love fantasy and gamers love gaming and comic fans love immersing themselves in comic worlds. It’s our way of escape and it’s our way of getting through, and I like to provide that with my music and I have fun with it because that’s what I look for in art as well.”

True, Lights may simply have change into, say, Charli XCX if she’d simply performed the mainstream pop sport a little bit bit extra. But she acknowledges that having a rabid following that enables her to roll into cities on a number of continents and comfortably fill mid-sized theatres and live performance halls is sort of the proper place to be. There’s no stress to actually be something however herself and her followers are as trustworthy as they’re exactly as a result of Lights has by no means pretended to be something however herself. She’s proof constructive that the AV-club youngsters could be rock stars, too.

“I do recognize that being like that as an artist has caused me to, in some ways, fall between the cracks,” she stated. “But I would rather make music that interests me and feels authentic than be, like, ‘Well, this is my sound. I have to stick with it.’ And I’ve come to terms with that. I’m never going to be one thing that’s easy to put out there for people to understand, necessarily. There’s no one song that you can show someone and that shows off what Lights is. You have to dig into the whole body of work to really understand and that’s probably a detriment, but I have fun.

“It’s been really consistent. It’s stayed the same for 10 years and there’s frustrating things about that, but there’s also comfort in that and freedom. There’s a lot of liberation in that I can kind of just do what I want and maintain this level of expectation. It’s been thing after thing on this tour, and yet every night’s f—in’ great and the crew is amazing and the shows are awesome, so the way I’m looking at it is: if it’s in my control to let myself keep doing this I will, because there are things that are out of my control that will force me not to and that happened for two years with the pandemic.

“So if this is within my control, I’m still moving forward and I’m still doing this sh– because I really f—in’ love it and I’ll do it even if I have a broken foot.”

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