Lo-Fang – Mercury Lounge – November 1, 2014
The classically trained singer-songwriter Matthew Hemerlein produces lush soundtrack-worthy music under the moniker Lo-Fang. Most recently, he had been tapped to perform his cover of the Grease favorite “You’re the One That I Want” in a Chanel No. 5 short film starring supermodel Gisele Bündchen and directed by Academy Award–winning Baz Luhrmann. Not bad company to keep. With a slew of influences from R&B to electronica, it should be noa surprise that Hemerlein’s debut album, Blue Film, was written over a three-year globetrotting journey across Cambodia, London, Nashville, Tokyo and Bali. After making his New York City debut at Mercury Lounge earlier this year, the L.A.-based producer returned to the venue for a sold-out performance on Saturday night.
Those in the crowd waited in the chilly rain but were quickly heated up by the singer’s theatrics. Opening with “Silver,” from his newly released Every Night mixtape, Hemerlein literally kicked off his shoes to work his magic not only on the violin but also on the multitude of pedals beneath his feet. The ladies front and center were in for a treat as Hemerlein lunged closer for the throbbing “Light Year.” Wooing the opposite sex further, Hemerlein covered BOY’s “Boris,” serenading, “You owe me/ Your lips I’m gonna give tips/ And I heard your boyfriend is out of town?” Plenty of his admirers would have happily run away with him. On the title track, he even broke out some push-ups to work out his guns for further flexing throughout the evening. With Lo-Fang’s dramatics checked, his classical training shown through on “#88” as he lithely wove Andrew Bird–like violin plucks into his falsetto.
Nearing the end of the set, Hemerlein returned down the path of seduction for “When We’re Fire,” as his gyrations, straight out of Magic Mike, would make Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey blush. And when this reviewer was mistakenly taking notes, the singer cheekily reprimanded me by pocketing my phone. Boy wants all eyes on him. Lesson learned. To punctuate the evening, Lo-Fang dug deep into the late ’90s with Ginuwine’s “Pony” for a fitting final fling. But despite his female admirers’ desire for more, they were left hot and bothered into the crisp evening air. —Sharlene Chiu