Sydneysiders were treated to an excellent set from Låpsley on Wednesday, with the young British songstress in the country for the first time to play Splendour in the Grass. A sold out Oxford Art Factory brimmed with anticipation for the up-and-coming artist, and they weren’t disappointed by her mix of casual electronic beats and interesting vocals.
Local opener BUOY warmed the crowd up with her hazy tunes. Despite consisting of just one woman behind a keyboard, she filled the venue with syncopated electronic beats and floating vocals. Her incredibly dense music was a good fit for a Låpsley gig, and despite a lot of noise coming from the crowd as they entered the venue most people seemed to be enjoying it. Closing song ‘One Day’ was a highlight of the set. Its multi-layered dark electronica worked well in the small space of Oxford Art Factory, and left the crowd ready for the main act as BUOY carried her keyboard off stage.
Låpsley opened the set with low-key tune ‘Burn’, immediately impressing the crowd with her vocals. The dense electronic breakdown towards the end of the song made sure she had the attention of everyone in the room. ‘Cliff’ followed, with its deep bass and sporadic piano chords prompting the crowd to move around a bit more. One of the things Låpsley did best was her stage banter – be it remarking how ‘fit’ Australians are, regaling tales from Splendour the weekend before or being shocked to see her face staring back from the merch stand, she seemed like a lovely, funny person. This was to her advantage; the crowd became more and more into the set after each time she spoke. Although only 13 songs were played, Låpsley ensured everyone was satisfied by the end.
‘8896’ saw the rest of the band leave the stage, leaving Låpsley alone with a keyboard, creating an intimate feeling and allowing the crowd to really appreciate her engaging vocals. However, it wasn’t long until the band returned for ‘Operator’, the one song that really got everyone dancing. With the vibe of one of Adele’s more upbeat songs, everyone on stage appeared to really enjoy playing it. ‘Station’ was a perfect example one of the most unique things about Låpsley’s sound: her use of voice-changing microphones to create the illusion of a duet. It was quite impressive to see her loop her own vocals at different pitches to ensure the song translated well to the live setting.
The encore consisted of a cover of ‘This Woman’s Work’ by Kate Bush, which Låpsley originally performed to celebrate International Women’s Day, and ‘Hurt Me’, her biggest single to date. Both were very well done, and sparked mass singalongs from the crowd. The decision to have Låpsley walk off during a double outro of ‘Hurt Me’ was a good one, saving everyone from the awkwardness that often comes at the end of a concert. Overall, the intimacy afforded by the small venue space in combination with Låpsley’s personable performance made for a great gig that showed why she has been such a buzz artist lately.