Photo by Marta Kierkus
Hundreds of people gathered in the woodsy and mesmerizing Hog’s Back Park to see one of the most anticipated artists of the Ottawa Folk Festival, Lorde. The crowd on day two of the festival was a heavy mixture of teenagers, young adults, children, and their parents shivering to get a glimpse of her hour-long set.
The stage was rather minimal and dark with a small lit chandelier hanging above, perhaps an attempt to keep intact Lorde’s persona of a down-to-earth celebrity who’s more concerned about substance than style. Dressed in a series of long, flowing, gothic-inspired pieces, Lorde kept the crowd entertained at first with her continuous hair flipping and eccentric dancing. But after a few songs, her shtick grew old.
Much like listening to a John Mayer album, her music resonates with the same sound, track after track. By no means is it not enjoyable, but it takes a lot of patience if you do not love it. You respect her ability to create something as unique as her Pure Heroine album. But if you’re not a major fan, the songs blend together.
What caught the hip-hop fans’ attention was her short rendition of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights.” And perhaps an homage to West himself, Lorde borrowed his same style aesthetic and chose a peony red gown with a gold crown during the one-two punch finale of “Team” and her smash hit, “Royals”. It was an outfit much like West’s own red suit and crown for his 2010 Saturday Night Live performance of “Power.”
The songstress tried to chat up the crowd by telling us “it’s great to be in the middle of nowhere.” She redeemed herself by explaining her long journey coming all the way from New Zealand. She also told the audience how she found the people in Ottawa to be so nice, and explained her most recent fan encounter with Mark Donoghue in the ByWard Market while at a Starbucks.
Perhaps after she produces a second album, Lorde will have more material to change up her set list and find more diversity during her shows. In the meantime, it may be best to keep her on iTunes and press skip once you’ve had enough.