Friday, May 16, 2014

Violin star Lindsey Stirling impresses in Anaheim

My review of Lindsey Stirling's Wednesday night, May 14, 2014 concert was originally posted on The Orange County Register Web site on Thursday, May 15.

Lindsey Stirling on May 14, 2014
The unique virtuoso, whose shows blend Vegas choreography with Coachella-ready musicianship, boldly returned to her native O.C. with Grove showcase.

Violinist-composer Lindsey Stirling is undoubtedly some kind of original. In a 90-minute headlining performance at a sold-out City National Grove of Anaheim Wednesday night, the 27-year-old Santa Ana native, whose new album debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard chart, presented her entertaining blend of neo-classical, electronica, Celtic, dubstep and hip-hop – an unlikely hybrid anchored by her astounding instrumental skills.
Not only did Stirling bow away with flawless precision, whether on a classical model or a modern electric version, she also moved like Jagger and sometimes joined two dancers in choreographed routines while fluidly continuing to play.
Stirling is among her generation’s biggest YouTube-launched stars, so naturally her set was a persuasive combination of video technology and live abilities. Considering she’s attracted more than 400 million views of her conceptual clips online, it’s no surprise her O.C. audience spanned from little kids and teens to twentysomethings and baby boomers. All seemed caught up in the atmosphere, which blended the mainstream Vegas atmosphere of, say, Blue Man Group with the feel of an alternative concert experience, like you’d find at Coachella.
"What is up, Anaheim?" the personable, ever-smiling Stirling said to cheers after opening with a few fast-moving tracks. Backed by the longtime duo of drummer Drew Steen and keyboardist Jason Gaviati, this appearance spotlighted plenty of material from just-released sophomore effort Shatter Me as well as her self-titled debut from 2012.
There have been any number of incredible guitarists since the ’60s, with giants like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton inspiring modern-day heroes like Joe Bonamassa and Eric Johnson. Yet, as Stirling’s performance reminded more than once, she is that rare violinist able to bring that same kind of rock energy to the stage, impressing with undeniable virtuosity while breaking new ground with originals that are a direct extension of her dexterity and catholic taste.
While the full set was superb, highlights included “We Are Giants,” with its emotive slow intro and subsequent commercial pop rhythm, and the more emotive “Take Flight,” as Stirling's dazzling fingerwork played out in front of images of the cosmos, her dancers often lifting her up while she played at breathtaking speed. “Shatter Me” was another strong one: While vocals from singer Lzzy Hale (of Halestorm) were provided only via video, the star’s violin work conjured more than enough firepower to compensate. A remarkable talent.
Dia Frampton of Archis on May 14
Opening for Stirling was the new trio Archis, featuring singer-songwriter Dia Frampton, formerly one-half of indie pop sister act Meg & Dia and runner-up on the first season of NBC’s singing competition “The Voice.” The group's 30-minute set showcased a young artist and company exploring sonic territory somewhere between Natasha Khan’s Bat for Lashes, Icelandic troupe Of Monsters and Men and rootiser American act ZZ Ward. Lead-off song “Blood” was a powerful, symphonic-styled art-rocker that recalled the spirit of Florence & the Machine’s stuff. It will be interesting to see how Archis develops.
Lindsey Stirling and Archis play again tonight, May 15, at Club Nokia in the L.A. Live complex, 800 W. Olympic Blvd., $29.50-$35. On May 24, the tour arrives at House of Blues Las Vegas, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd., $25.
Photos courtesy of Kelly A. Swift

No comments: