Published Dec 02, 2011Everything is happening at an alarming rate for Lana Del Rey. Even in the hasty age of the internet, the New York songstress formerly named Lizzie Grant has seen an instant breakthrough that only Kreayshawn could relate to. Even her arrival to play a one-off gig in Toronto, her first Canadian date, required her to catch a midday flight from New York, where she is currently cutting her debut album. If the backlash has begun, as multiple features on her have questioned (is she really as DIY as she claims or is this just some A&R publicity stunt?), there was no sign of it at the Mod Club.
The over-capacity venue gave her a hero's welcome when she walked on stage decked in a gold lamé blouse and jeans tighter than a facelift, with that famous hair of hers looking immaculate, as if she just stepped off a movie set. In fact, everything about her screams Hollywood: her starlet image, the cleverly mashed-up name (a combination of Lana Turner and the Ford Del Rey) and the visuals projected onto giant balloons, which relied heavily on old movies clips and a whole lotta Elvis.
Although her career began a few years ago, Lana's stage presence suggested she is the overnight success many believe her to be. At times, she came across as a bit green and even awkward, but maintained more than enough charm to cover it up. The impression that she was the pouty-lipped diva was thrown out the door once the applause began, as she revealed herself to be truly grateful for the adoration. At one point, she even told the crowd to "Shut up!" for applauding a little too much. In between songs, she was all smiles, much like her admirers, many of whom sang the words to most of the nine songs -- only two of which have received an official release. But mid-song, she couldn't help but fall into her pining character, giving smouldering looks and coy smiles.
The new single and title track of Del Rey's album, Born to Die, right away gave indication that she can pull off that sultry, silken voice live, while confirming that she does have more than a couple good tunes in her (expect this to be the big commercial hit). That song, it should be noted, is a also a favourite of hers, as she told the crowd: "I love that song so fucking much, you don't even know."
Her extremely tight band masterfully recreated the orch pop heard on singles "Blue Jeans" and "Video Games," matching the intimacy and radiance of the recorded versions. As she closed with "Off to the Races," she teased that they only knew eight songs, but could try another that they had never played live yet. Not long after, they came back on to deliver "Diet Mtn Dew," which she prefaced with "If you judge me I'll kill you." However, the way she and her band nailed the song, it was almost unbelievable that this wasn't a regular in the set.
In the song "Without You" she asks "Am I glamorous?" The obvious answer anyone in attendance would give is a resounding yes. But there's talent to be recognized there, too, and Lana demonstrated she has plenty of it to last longer than your average internet sensation.