Although Charli XCX was headlining at U Street Music Hall, I had come especially to see LIZ, the newest talent to join Diplo’s Mad Decent Label. The LA native is young and fresh with vocals that are reminiscent of 90’s female divas. Her bio on the Mad Decent website does a great job of describing her style as containing a “breezy attitude and a sugary, sun-dripped voice that sticks in your head like a wad of pink bazooka bubble-gum.” She’s currently touring North America with Charlie XCX and Kitten.
As the lights dimmed, I was anxious to see if she could deliver as well as her hype in a live setting. The red lights came on and LIZ pranced on with a basketball jersey, hat and comfortable shoes. She was accompanied by two Y2K dancers and DJ CZ. The stage seemed bare compared to earlier concerts I had attended, with no instruments and just a single vocalist. Despite the lack of instruments on stage, LIZ held her own, opening with her new single “Stop Me Cold”. The song has a light drum and bass feel paired with her R&B and pop vocals. Like most of her songs, “Stop Me Cold” is a great combination of chill vibes in a pop song.
The next song, “Day N Nite”, the result of a collaboration with Ryan Hemsworth, was more synonymous with Mad Decent’s sound. This song is a personal favorite and is the track that had first introduced me to LIZ. I was a bit skeptical of her capability in performing the high notes before the concert but this song proved my suspicions wrong. Not only were her vocals crisp and pitch perfect, but she definitely felt the song and conveyed her emotions while singing it. As a member of the audience, having the artist really engaged when singing only made me more connected and invested.
She continued to show off her versatility and range with “Horoscope” and “U Over them.” Both songs had more of a R&B or hip hop feel and they were reminiscent of Aaliyah, Ashanti and TLC with a more modern beat and twist. LIZ worked the stage, bouncing from one end of it to to the other along with the crowd, showing off her moves with the help of her backup dancers. The dance moves didn’t take away from her ability to bring the extremely smooth vocals everyone was bumping to.
LIZ closed the show with her two most popular tracks, “Every Memory” and “Hush”. The tracks immediately bring me back to sunny summer days with LIZ’s light, fun and easy singing. Although “Hush” remains a more catchy tune, “Every Memory” hits the right balance between melody and bass with a complex underlying beat.
LIZ did a great job performing–her voice carried great throughout the night and did not lose accuracy in tone or pitch. She continuously kept the crowd engaged with her dancing while remaining invested in her songs. However, throughout the concert, she sang over her original tracks which were played in the background. LIZ proved to the audience that she could hold her own and any backing tracks additional to DJ CZ took away from the set as a whole. Her set was a bit of summer sun in the cool DC weather and was definitely worth going to. Although Mad Decent ventured out of the sound that their usual artists have signing LIZ onto their label, they have done a great job of grooming her into a performer. I look forward to not only her concerts but also her new tracks.
Make sure to check out her Soundcloud!