Written By Kharis Lund
If you’ve ever been to Chop Suey, you know how divey of a venue it is. Dark, dirty, and fairly small, the Capitol Hill location nevertheless exudes a kind of intimacy and charm that draws you in. Last Wednesday, I had the pleasure of seeing Låpsley there, along with an eclectic crowd. Morly, an up-and-coming multi-instrumentalist hailing from Minnesota, opened with a melodic electronic set. A friend accompanied her on the drums, which unfortunately tended to overpower her quieter, ethereal voice. Overall though, it was a solid beginning to an incredible night.
When Låpsley finally came on stage with her all-male band (clad in all black for extra effect), the crowd erupted in excited applause. Låpsley, who reminded me a little bit of a young Adele, was incandescent, a single spotlight illuminating her. I found myself swaying (and then all-out dancing) to the sensual mix of her soulful vocals and the moody bass that swirled around the small venue. Incredibly, she did all the vocals in her songs – including the deeper harmonies – using a microphone that lowered and deepened her voice. Perhaps my favourite song of the night, Låpsley sang an acoustic cover of her mother’s favorite song, “This Woman’s Work,” which had the crowd in tears by the end of it.
Låpsley’s show wasn’t just sad and sexy though. At breaks between songs, the British singer had the crowd laughing with wisecracks about the portion sizes of food in America and how she was hoping Chop Suey was an Asian fusion restaurant when she booked the gig. Rocking some cheetah print Louboutin booties and a button-up shift dress, Låpsley exuded a confidence and wit much beyond her 19 years, expertly balancing the line between taking herself too seriously and not taking herself seriously enough.
To add even more excitement to the night, about a quarter of the way through her set, a man in the front row fell back onto me. Confused and thinking that he was unsuccessfully trying to crowd surf in the small venue, I shuffled to the side. In horror, I watched him fall to the ground and have some sort of seizure. Luckily the crowd was friendly and rushed security over to help, and when the man regained consciousness, he seemed to be doing fine.
Låpsley continued her set, and at the end, finished off her show with an incredible encore performance of “Hurt Me.” Despite having just unknowingly let a fainting man fall and hit his head on the ground, I couldn’t help but crack the biggest smile. Låpsley is just that good.