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Live show review: Lorde at the Showbox


Sixteen year old New Zealand pop sensation’s single “Royals” was sitting at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 chart when she came to Seattle to play a highly-anticipated show at the Showbox Saturday night. Her debut album, Pure Heroine, comes out on Tuesday, but has been streaming elsewhere on the Internet in advance.

The show was long-sold out, with tickets going quickly once the show was announced that it was part of Decibel Fest. Lorde’s sing-along hit has a downtempo vibe built around a beat from producer Little Joey. The song is fine for what it is and I haven’t minded it when it comes on the radio, but there’s also little to find exciting about it and is unremarkable overall. And her show Saturday night was, to be honest, not very good. And almost certainly one of the least-exciting sets for Decibel Fest.


That Lorde is only sixteen gets thrown around a lot as a sense of praise, but Taylor Swift was writing far superior songs at that same age so she isn’t as prodigious as it would seem on first glance. And citing her age is as inconvenient as it is convenient because her inexperience was glaring Saturday night.

There was little variation in the style of her songs – mostly all were lesser workings of “Royals,” and showed little range beyond her deep voice. What little she said between songs was almost indecipherable (I think there was a pander to the crowd about legalized marijuana. Ugh) and the few verses of Kanye West’s “Hold My Liquor” could best be described as ill-advised. The lighting didn’t help matters and the whole production seemed amateurish. Even late in the set, just moments before “Royals,” Lorde asked the crowd for the time (it was 8:28) and she noted that she would be hitting her curfew in 17 minutes (there was another dB Fest show at the Showbox later in the night). It felt like a rookie mistake that shifted the blame for the poor pacing onto the club for imposing the limit for her show (which was allotted about an hour, which seemed fair, but didn’t start until 7:55).

But the crowd, predictably, went crazy when it was time to play “Royals.”

The song’s chorus is easy to sing along with and it throws out a bunch of brand names, like they are hashtags. (But every song’s like gold teeth, Grey Goose, trippin’ in the bathroom / Blood stains, ball gowns, trashin’ the hotel room, We don’t care, we’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams. But everybody’s like Cristal, Maybach, diamonds on your time piece. Jet planes, islands, tigers on a gold leash.”) It is at least the second bad song to critique conspicuous consumption to make its way to the upper registers of the Hot 100 (Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ hideous “Thrift Shop” is the other I had in mind).

That Lorde sings with a deep voice and makes reference to elite vodka brands seems to make her a favorite of more adults than actual teens in her age group (I mean the adults who throw terms like “authenticity” around). That her youthfulness is used as a stick to hit other pop stars with is unfortunate because we should expect more from our pop stars than just being a rockist’s useful idiot.


  1. Bravado
  2. Biting Down
  3. Glory and Gore
  4. Tennis Court
  5. Buzzcut Season
  6. Ribs
  7. Hold My Liquor (Kanye West cover)
  8. White Teeth Teens
  9. Royals
  10. 400 Lux
  11. A World Alone

Decibel Fest unveils its complete lineup


The lineup for the 10th annual Decibel Fest was released yesterday, and it looks pretty amazing (unsurprisingly). There are dozens of sets I’m looking forward to (particularly the US debut of Lorde, plus Zola Jesus at the Triple Door, MNDR, Peter Hook, Little Boots).

The press release sez:

Looking ahead to our 10 year anniversary program, we have made great strides to bring together our most complete program to date. From past highlights (e.g. MobyGreen VelvetSpeedy J feat. Scott PaganoMount KimbieNils Frahm), to Decibel debuts (e.g. Nicolas Jaar feat. Tarik BarriArt DepartmentNeon IndianThe Orb, Ben KlockMachinedrum Vapor City LiveDiamond Versionfeat. Alva Noto & ByetoneZola Jesus feat. JG Thirlwell & The Minos Quartet), to emerging talent(e.g. LordeXXYYXXDuskyRyan HemsworthLapalux), to regional luminaries (e.g. Cyril Hahn,Shabazz PalacesTeen DazeThe Helio SequenceLusinePezznerThe Sight Below) this year’s program will offer quality, leading-edge audio/visual performance, installation, film and education throughout. Be it our live club showcases, OPTICAL seated events, dB Conference, after-hours, dB in the Park or boat parties, the 2013 Decibel Festival will once again offer something for everyone regardless of musical preference, age or background.

Without further adieu, it gives us great pleasure to announce the initial 10th Annual Decibel Festival program. This announcement includes

  • 5 full days and nights of activities
  • 126 confirmed artists from 20 countries 
  • 26 club showcases (across 11 premier venues)
  • 6 official after-hours (all included with the Decibel Pass) 
  • 4 OPTICAL events (all included with the Decibel Pass)
  • Individual tickets to 36 showcases are available through our Tickets Page

Over the coming weeks we will be following up with several key event announcements, several of which have become synonymous with Decibel over the past decade. These include

  • The 10th Annual dB Conference (3 full days of educational and business oriented activities, all included with the Decibel Pass
  • The Decibel Boat Parties (three afternoon boat cruises featuring deejays performing at the 2013 Decibel Festival
  • dB in the Park (free park event, which will be announced later this month)
  • dB Films (film series showcasing documentaries and live film soundtracks, all included with the Decibel Pass)
  • dB Poster Show (we’ll be hosting a dB Poster Show highlighting both past design and new works to celebrate our 10th edition)
  • dB DJ Lounge (based at a prime downtown location, dB attendees will be invited to dine, drink and dance at this free lounge)

Decibel Fest adds the second wave of artists to lineup


As promised a few months ago, Decibel Fest said they were announcing their lineup in three waves. The first one was in April and the final one will be out in August. This wave includes Actress, Kode9, UK pop star Little Boots, Gold Panda, Nosaj Thing and more. The artists added are:

  • Gold Panda (UK)
  • Kid Smpl (US)
  • J. Alvarez (US)
  • Blockhead (US)
  • Nosaj Thing (UK)
  • Little People (CH / UK)
  • Teebs (US)
  • MORRI$ (US)
  • Neon Indian (US)
  • Lapalux (US)
  • Kode9 (UK)
  • Phaelah (UK)
  • JETS (US / DE)
  • Jimmy Edgar (US / DE)
  • DJ Rashad (US)
  • Ejeca (IE)
  • Luke Abbott (UK)
  • Actress (UK)
  • Amine Edge (FR)
  • Charles Murdoch (AU)
  • D Tiberio (US)
  • Tiger and Woods (IT)
  • Midland (UK)
  • Slaves of Venus (US)
  • Little Boots (UK)
  • Henrik Schwarz (DE)
  • Maxxi Soundsystem (UK)
  • Matias Aguayo (CL / DE)
  • Oren Ambarchi (AU)
  • Mano Le Tough (IE / DE)

First round of artists announced for Decibel Fest


The first round of artists scheduled to play Decibel Fest was announced yesterday. It’s promised that there will be three rounds of artist announcements, coming next on June 4 and then the final lineup will be revealed on August 6. The festival will take place throughout Seattle from September 25 through Sept. 29. There’s a lot to be excited for with the biggest name so far is Peter Hook and his band The Light performing the New Order albums Movement and Power, Corruption and Lies in their entirety.

So far, the artists announced are:

  • Peter Hook & the Light
  • Ben Klock
  • Wax Taylor
  • Olafur Arnalds
  • The Martinez Brothers
  • Speedy J
  • Helio Sequence
  • Cajmere
  • Hauschka with Samuli Kosminen
  • Ame
  • KiNK
  • Dusky
  • Nils Frahm
  • Shabazz Palaces
  • PillowTalk
  • Machinedrum
  • Moscha
  • Slow Magic
  • Kyle Hall
  • Ryan Hemsworth
  • Shigeto
  • ADULT.
  • Giraffage
  • Waifs & Strays
  • Teen Daze
  • THEESatisfaction
  • Cyril Hahn
  • John Tejada
  • Young Galaxy
  • Lusine
  • Pezner
  • Light Asylum
  • Oliveray
  • Dauwd
  • Tomas Barfod
  • Peter Broderick
  • Beacon
  • Archie Pelago
  • Nick Monaco
  • Vox Mod

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