A Young Talent on the Rise

October 1st, 2013

Lorde – Webster Hall – September 30, 2013

It is no surprise that Lorde drew a sold-out crowd to Webster Hall on a Monday night. The audacious young singer-songwriter from New Zealand has already made an undeniably strong impression on the music scene. The audience waited patiently as Pete Lawrie Winfield, the man behind the moniker Until the Ribbon Breaks, stepped out first to deliver a striking set. A haunting, bass-heavy rendition of “Pressure,” anchored the performance. Audience members who weren’t familiar with Until the Ribbon Breaks likely left the venue last night eager to listen to more of Winfield’s material.

By the time Lorde took the stage, Webster Hall was filled to capacity with fans of all ages. Ella Yelich-O’Connor, 16, has attracted a diverse array of fans. This is unsurprising, given that her music is defiant, infectious and, above all, smart. Yelich-O’Connor’s backlit figure commanded the stage flanked by a drummer and a keyboardist. Her voice is a bit rougher around the edges in a live setting, which suits her music very well. She kicked off her hour-long set with a deliciously subdued version of “Bravado.”

“Thanks for coming, I really appreciate it,” coyly said the singer before launching into “Tennis Court” and “Buzzcut Season.” A dark and rapturous cover of Kanye West’s “Hold My Liquor” had the crowd leaping. “Royals” gave everyone in the packed venue the opportunity to sing along, as the single had been most people’s first taste of her music. The end of Lorde’s set had a decidedly somber tone as she explored the lyrics of “400 Lux” and “The World Alone.” Lorde delivered her set with astounding conviction and compelling confidence. And we can only hope her talent gets better with age. —Schuyler Rooth

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood |