Concert Review / Pop Kultur 2019: Michelle Blades plays a fun, wild and intense show


Few acts have as natural a command of the stage as Michelle Blades. On Thursday at Pop Kultur, the Indie rock multi-instrumentalist delivered a fun, wild and intense show that loosened the crowd up more than anything I’d seen all week.

It was her second time playing Pop Kultur, but her first with a full band, making it difficult to imagine anything less. The rhythm section was tight and heavy, with Blades alternating between bass and guitar duties herself. Her chemistry with the other lead guitarist onstage was a joy to behold. The two danced around each other like a couple of old beer buddies, even fearlessly going for “guitarmonies” at certain points of the set.

Another female behind the keys kept the hormones balanced on stage, providing ridiculous theatre organ and synth sounds that gave the set serious dorky energy. She also provided backing vocals for Blades, and their voices worked together beautifully.

the joy and energy Michelle Blades brought to the room felt like an act of generosity

Musically, there was a lot to enjoy here. The songs were full of dissonance, irregular time signatures, unusual structures and manic punk energy, but pop sensibility and a sincere respect for the audience kept everything fresh and enjoyable. Guitar tones varied from clean, jangly lead playing to St. Vincent inspired fuzz and wild whammy effects.

Blades herself switched between clean and distorted microphones depending on how loud they were going to get. Many of the songs built to instrumental rock’n’roll madness, but such moments never overstayed their welcome and the crowd loved it.

At one point, Blades realised she wasn’t going to drink her water and offered a bottle to the crowd – an offer that someone in the front row graciously accepted. Weirdly, this moment seems to sum up the experience for me. I didn’t realise I was thirsty for something like this, but the joy and energy Michelle Blades brought to the room felt like an act of generosity. If you ever get the chance to check out the show, it will surely put a smile on your face.


  • Reply August 27, 2019


    so in 2019, a man who plays an instrument is a musician but a woman who plays an instrument is a female musician… and the “female” is on stage to keep the hormones balanced. whoa, what is wrong with you people!

    • Reply August 31, 2019


      Yikes, my bad (guy who did the review here). She was an excellent musician too. I’ve just seen a lot of female singer/songwriters with all male bands and it was refreshing to see a different vibe on stage. Felt like it was worth noting but maybe not. I did not mean to infer that her function was completely chromosome related.

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