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Best of The Fest: Lorde

lorde
Alex Reside

The ways in which Lorde continues to surprise us speaks volumes about what we traditionally believe to be true about teen performers (and teen girls in general). With nothing but a minimal-but-booming two piece backing band, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor commanded the stage with ferocity and control that even some of the festival's legacy acts and headliners couldn't muster. The power of her performance was nothing short of transfixing. The live arrangements of her songs have largely been stripped of their sweetness and lux-choral backing tracks, reducing "Biting Down" and "Tennis Court" to their brute electro-pop marrow — leaving her to occupy the cold space between the stutter and boom of the beats. She danced like she was trying to fling her arms off her body, but just as with her voice, the sense that she was in absolute possession of her abilities never waned. She nailed every stomp and every note — but it was clearly fueled by passion, not perfection. Towards the end of the set, between songs, she paused to regard the crowd and you could see she was at a loss for words — as much in awe of us as we were her.

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