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On March 5, Weyes Blood, also known as Natalie Mering, performed an ethereal concert bolstered by compelling visual and political components. Roadrunner in Boston was filled with excited people in front of the stage, and Blood’s captivating voice and calming presence made the experience feel expansive.
Evoking a vaguely ritualistic setting, Blood’s bandmates arrived on stage first, surrounded by golden candelabras and rosy light. After they began playing their instruments, Blood entered the stage and began singing “It’s Not Just Me, It’s Everybody” from her latest album “And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow.” The song is an ode to collective suffering as a result of “overwhelming changes” and isolation. As she sing: “we’ve all become strangers.”
Though Blood consistently remained in one vocal range, her voice possessed an exceptional tone. The instruments perfectly molded to her vocals, crafting a luscious auditory experience derived from sonic wholeness. Blood appeared to sing effortlessly as she glided across the stage.
Reflecting the theme of transience, the spotlights changed color from song to song. Each piece seemed to have a corresponding color. Blood’s white dress displayed whatever was projected onto its material. During her performance of “Movies,” from her 2019 breakout album “Titanic Rising,” a blue-green watery image swam across her dress. Towards the end of her set, Blood turned on a light that shone through the same dress from the center of her chest that illuminated the shape of a heart, illustrating the title of her album “Hearts Aglow.”
During her performance of “God Turn Me Into a Flower,” a documentary-style music video created for the song by filmmaker Adam Curtis was projected behind her. The video followed a loose, experimental structure that alternated between suburban, utopic footage of white people in groups and scenes of police brutality inflicted against people of color. Curtis’s film seemed to respond to the lyric in the opening verse of the song “As long as I stand / to face the crowd … it’s good to be soft when they push you down.” By displaying this video during the concert, Blood’s attention to the visual medium allowed the music to take on new meaning.
Although not super conversational during the performance, Blood often made short remarks that tied into the next song or offered a glimpse into her personality. Her longest aside was about how she does not believe in astrology and that everyone should be free to choose who they want to be. This remark related to the overall lust for freedom inherent in “And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow,” a craving which is especially apparent in the song “Children of the Empire.” The last lines of this song embody this desire for self-liberation: “We know we’re not free even though / we wanna be free.”
Blood sat down at the piano for “Everyday,” off the “Titanic Rising” album. Though her songs often follow a slower tempo, her song “Everyday” has a bouncier, lighter feel. Even at the bench, Blood got the audience moving during this moment of levity. Her live performance had a very emotive quality, indicative by this shift in the overall mood. Whereas the rest of the songs lulled the audience into a hypnotic reverence, “Everyday” brought a new energy to the swaying crowd.
Bolstered by a strong visual compliment, Blood facilitated a celestial and at times ghostly artistic journey with her musical talent throughout her performance.
—Staff writer Sophia S. Pasalis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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