Silent anticipation brewed in the pitch black darkness of the SB Bowl last Thursday. A couple of cloud lights shimmered when multi-platinum superstar Lorde suddenly emerged in a green pant suit and crop top. Hands in her pocket, she approached the microphone. “There’s a humming in the restless summer air,” she began. Then she danced.
Lorde displayed her free-spirited dance choreography like a new art form of showing how little she cares. She employed sudden movements and convulsive body jerks to prove this point. The New Zealander often closed her eyes and pointed to the sky before throwing her head to her feet and bobbing up and down. Then, she resurfaced, staring as if in a drug-induced trance before returning to twitching.
Lorde’s unruly curls spiraled out of control as she flailed them side-to-side. At times, she resembled Cousin Itt from the Addams family. At other times, she appeared to have just stepped out of a 1980s yearbook. Her colossal hair echoed her large personality, and she never hesitated to flaunt it.
The young starlet’s dance moves have been compared to a dinosaur, a zebra, Elaine from Seinfeld and a sassy tiger that has been given a shot of ketamine. Missing from this list is the old guy from the Six Flags commercials. Her moves have the jumpy, jerky quality that he embodies. Whatever comparison we choose, Lorde was certainly doing it for the thrill of it, and killin’ it.
The Santa Barbara Bowl was the perfect, unassuming amphitheater for this down-to-earth, self-identified feminist. Initially intended to host the Santa Barbara community’s Fiesta pageant, the SB Bowl was built in 1936. Now a popular entertainment hub, it is akin to a cozy version of the Hollywood Bowl.
Located in a residential neighborhood in the picturesque hills of Santa Barbara, the SB Bowl holds 4,562 seats. Guests enjoy music alongside bustling trees while gazing at the stars. The SB Bowl Foundation has recently gone green, powering every show with solar energy.
One of the more controversial aspects of Lorde’s performance was when she talked about the three-letter word: age. She discussed how she has matured in the last year and how teens can probably relate to the anxiety that comes with age. “I’ve never felt more alone//It feels so scary getting old,” she expressed in her “Ribs” single. “You’re not that old, Lorde!” shouted skeptics who hardly thought 17 was over the hill.
Albeit at a young age, Lorde underwent many changes in the last year or two. She performed at major festivals like Coachella and Lollapalooza, released her album Pure Heroine and embarked on long tours. Being placed in the limelight brings great responsibility and relentless public scrutiny that most 17-year-olds are ill-equipped to handle.
Despite being the poster child for alternative pop, she treated us to her own rendition of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights.” She emerged in front of a snowflake backdrop and burst into dance spasms as big foam bubbles spurted into the audience.
As her hit single suggests, Lorde has an obsession with royalty and aristocracy. Beneath a chandelier, she performed “Royals” in a crop trop, gaucho pants and a cape, all bright red. Fancy theater curtains draped along the stage and a flashy sign displayed the words “The Tragic and Wonderful Triumphant Procession of Lorde.”
In a distinct Kiwi accent, Lorde remarked, “Sahnta Bahbra, you are really fun to hang out with. You are actually just cool. Maybe it’s because you live by the beach and smoke a lot of weed.” But then she remembered her cool girl image and criticism of notorious weed indulger Miley Cyrus. “Not that weed is cool!” she retracted.
“I did what you have to do when you go to SB. I went to Super Rica Taqueria. Those tacos are f*cking good, people,” she added. If any locals had doubts over Lorde’s cool factor, she earned their approval with these words.
The crowd that filled SB Bowl came because they were over being told to put their hands up in the air, and they left feeling a part of Lorde’s team. She showered the Bowl with confetti and bubbles during her performance of “Team,” which drew rounds of applause with its fun hip hop beat and uplifting chorus.
The bubbles and confetti enlivened us, her strong, smoky voice enchanted us and her chaotic dancing moved us. That night at SB Bowl she took the throne as Lorde of the dance.
This story is a Daily Nexus online exclusive.