Review: Lightning Dust at the PrivatClub

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Lightning Dust were back in Berlin last week for only the second time ever and we were there too to catch a powerful performance of their new album, Spectre, and a few classics too. 

As we took off our coats as we entered into the red-tinted building that is the PrivatClub, we took a look around the small, yet intimate venue and grabbed a beer from the bar to warm us up from the outside.

There was a sound in the air that was also quickly infusing us with warmth, this time for our souls. This was being generate from the very talented Echo Beatty from Antwerp, who was tonight’s support act for the band we had come to see, the Canadian outfit, Lightning Dust.

Beatty filled the role of the “warm-up” act expertly though, serenading the half-full crowd with the warmth in her performance which combined with her facial expressions made her music very bewitching in nature. Getting the crowd in the right mindset for what was to come from the evening.

Her voice reminiscent of Enya in some ways, which urged the crowd to gently sway to her melodic sounds – with some swaying more so than others. This was the case for at least the first couple songs, before raising tempo to a folky more upbeat track called Hunger Hunger. Following this, she announced she had more one song but she had seemingly already won over the crowd with this performance as an audience member shouted “Two more!” to lure into more serenades.

“Urgency and Intensity are some of the most important things for me.”

However, time was of the essence and her tracklist was coming to an end,  so she was unable to appease the crowd. Instead, she finished it off on a high, with what she described as her “friendly break up song”. A track named Boat where her vocals were in full display. This brought the ardent set to a close. However, she had just enough time to catch up with us after the performance, where she breifly talked us through her music.

“I channel my emotions into my performance and for me, it is a bit cathartic in away. It’s so hard to talk about it but for me, the lyrics are very important and I try to put multiple layers in there so I can reinterpret them for myself. Urgency and Intensity are some of the most important things for me.” She explained.  “I don’t think it matters what genre it is if an artist has an urgency it really pulls you in ,and this is what I put into my music”

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Echo Beatty warmed the crowd up

This brought us ever closer to tonight’s main act, Lightning Dust. In the build-up an ominous red light decked out the stage, preparing us for the arrival for of the group.

We were not waiting long though and just several minutes after the interview with Beatty concluded, the band appeared on stage. Decked out all in black, Amber Webber, took her position at the front of the stage, while Joshua Wells,  sat down at the keyboard.

A Powerful, Yet Ominous Start

They broke straight into one of the lead tracks from their new album, Devoted To, which offers a slow build-up via the verses to an emphatic chorus. A very powerful start to the performance, which with its creepy tune played out while the red light still illuminated the stage – creating the perfect aesthetic for the track which manifested a sense of foreboding. This was the first display of Webber’s beautiful voice and the pairs impressive synergy. The perfect marriage of which is of course, the core of their unique sound.

From this, it was straight into another track that was pre-released ahead of their new album, Led Astray. This contrasting their opening track with a more welcoming, emotionally driven, and melodic vibe to the song. With her wonderful voice peppered by soft accent breaking through the lyrics – reminiscent greatly of Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane.

They continued straight into more tracks from the new album, with Run Away. This brought us back to a similar vibe to Devoted To, with a similar almost-creepy build-up, that breeds into a brawny, synch-heavy track. Almost futuristic in nature and totally funky. During which, Webber looked and sounded every bit of the rockstar persona she has cultivated for herself over the last 15 years of performing.

They then slowed it down with an older track, Never Again. This was another synth-heavy track which is carried along with a poignant performance. This was a much slower, more loving track with which almost brings you to tears with its beauty, or so said my female companion to the gig.

It was then back to the new album, with When it Rains. This too, although having a more lovely, slow build-up, soon grows to a more joyous – offering a quiet optimism about the unspoken relationship the track deals with.

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Then onto another more established, well-known track from their earlier days, I Knew, a favourite of mine, which was a joy to see live. This too is a very optimistic tune with a fast tempo and exciting undercurrent from the keyboard, led to the crowd immersing themselves into the music much more as the room began to shuffle around.

They followed with another older, trippy track, Diamonds. If you have ever heard the soundtrack to film Drive, then you would understand the vibe of this song. If you not, then you should have a listen for yourself.

A Dreamy, Dolcet Sound

After this, Wells acknowledged the crowd for the first time from his place at the Keyboard. Stating simply, “thank you for coming, its such an honour there is such a big crowd here”. Before delving straight into another new track, Joanna. With its heavy drumbeat and piercing vocals, this was another one of their more stirring efforts. However, this track’s lyrics focus on less about a lost love, but one of solemn solitude and loneliness of a different breed. Again, a track that connects with your soul hard with its dreamy, dolcet sound.

There was a nice middle ground from the faster, more energetic sounds with the more melodic lyrics, with Competitive Depressive. This is another track heavy on the synth, with a fast-paced, energetic tune but with the winsome vocals of Webber that it hits you like a brrick. Another brand new track from the group.

By now the crowd were infused with the sounds of the band. Swaying and bopping, while the band showed equal enthusiasm. Keeping it up with by providing the newer tracks from the album, they headed towards the end of the gig with the combo-track of 3 Am/100 Degree.

Thrst half is likely the rockiest track of the night, but of course, with the same stunning voice, which makes it a very enthralling one. While the second section, 100 degrees is a society shaming, hard to define track- distinctive from the rest of the setlist which looked set to end the gig. However, the crowd by now were infused and it was not yet over as far as they were concerned as they carried on cheering to bring on an encore.

A track which I believe is called, “Never Seen”. An older track, from just 5 years prior now. This was one more powerful finale to cap it all off. Brought a whole new angelic and robust dimensions to her voice, stunning throughout. However, not to downplay, Wells, who carried the performance with dazzling synth sounds that accompany Well’s cherubic voice wonderfully. Afterwards, we caught up with Webber backstage, once she and Wells had finished greeting and interacting with the crowd. She managed to talk us through the performance and the new album.

Despite a few technical difficulties and using a different mic. She enjoyed the set. ” It was different but a lot of fun. We have been playing mostly variations of the set we played tonight through the whole tour. So I’m comfortable with it and it’s just fun. It’s at that point where its before you are bored with the songs, and after the point where you are too nervous to play them well.  We’re in this good little zone, right now” she explained.

“My whole thing is if I’m not connecting with the audience, it is sort of boring to me, but tonight I thought I was connecting with people. I don’t look at the crowd a lot but when I did, I could see a lot of people with their eyes closed and you could tell certain people were really into it and it keeps me engaged”.

Originally from the so-called, Garden of England, Kent, Will Macmaster is a passionate journalist who has covered music, alongside numerous other subjects, across Europe for nearly half a decade. Previously operating in The UK, Malta, The Netherlands and Turkey, he recently moved to Berlin to get involved in one of the most vibrant music scenes in the world.  Fearless, innovative, and charismatic are just some of the words he knows. 

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