The massively impressive talents of all five members of the Internet took centrestage at the sold-out Imperial Thursday night (March 16), with each performing cuts from their own solo projects in between songs off their latest album as a group, the Grammy-nominated Ego Death.
Opening with "Special Affair," off their 2015 release, the band delved into the track's sexy, bass-driven groove as singer Syd skipped onstage, inciting cheers as her honeyed voice coated the crowd's ears in sweetness. She provided backing vocals for guitarist Steve Lacy as he stepped under the spotlight to run through his newly released Steve Lacy's Demo. Lacy, a prodigal force at just 18-years-old, swayed with his guitar and nimbly worked it on the woozy, funky "Looks," which saw him hit a gorgeous falsetto reminiscent of Marvin Gaye.
Before finishing his portion of the show, Lacy invited a woman celebrating her birthday up onstage. To whooping from the crowd and a bashful smile from the birthday girl, Lacy serenaded her with the soul-dripping "Thangs," falling to his knees as he wailed on the guitar.
Indeed, audience involvement like this was a big part of the evening: Syd encouraged back-and-forths with the crowd ("Everybody say 'hell yeah'… Now scream!") and sing-alongs to the hooks of tracks like "Gabby," which contributed to the intimacy and inclusivity of the performance.
Keyboardist Matt Martians added vibrant, intergalactic character as he played from his The Drum Chord Theory, starting with "Diamond in da Ruff." Syd and Lacy joined in for mesmerizing harmonies on the Lacy-produced "What Love Is," but the highlight from his set was undoubtedly "Southern Isolation" — a smooth, groovy jam that showed off the beatmaker's knack for composing.
Bassist Patrick Paige II, who delivered masterful jazzy bass lines throughout evening, performed a moving cut dedicated to his sister, from his forthcoming solo effort. "I wish our differences didn't turn us to distant strangers," he rapped, before Syd softly purred the hook.
The efforts of each member not only displayed how gifted they are as individual musicians, but also showcased the elements that make the Internet such a great collective. Broken up, one could really see how the group — distinctive creative entities that complement each other brilliantly when combined — are truly the sum of their parts. Not to mention that the support they exhibited for one another was beautiful to witness.
In this sense, perhaps the unsung hero of the night was drummer Christopher Smith, who consistently supplied dynamic and dexterous percussion. Smith's showing, a track from his soon-to-be-released album, had him performing a rousing drum solo so nuanced and fast that it surpassed the lightning-quick pace of the accompanying flashing lights.
Syd saved music from Fin, her debut solo project, for last. "All About Me," with its driving synths, provoked some of the biggest cheers of the night, while the sensual "Body" conjured the spirit of Aaliyah and had the crowd spellbound.
For a full two hours, the Internet kept the atmosphere laid back and the energy elevated. They carried the good vibe unwaveringly from the show's start to its closing song, "Get Away," on which a dirty groove, clapping percussion and Technicolor strobe aptly summed up the vitality of both the band and their happy audience.
More than anything, though, it was their musical genius that provided a satisfying feast for both the ears and the soul.