Steve Lacy Thrives on His Own for First Solo World Tour
by Lily Hartenstein
Clad in a lightweight lavender two-piece set, Steve Lacy stood over the crowd at House of Blues on Thursday night like our groovy Messiah.
He played the entirety of Apollo XXI, his first full-length solo album, which was released in May this year. The album is an out-of-this-world indie-pop dream full of self-revelation and sexual liberation.
The themes of his album culminate on the second track of the album, “Like Me”, where he confronts his bisexuality. In the nine-minute track, he struggles somewhat with his sexuality, asking if there’s anyone out there who can relate and looking back on when he used to hate his bisexuality. As he performed the song live, however, the tone changed from a somewhat deprecating rumination to a community anthem. “Where my queers at?” he asked, and the room filled with cheers and people jumping up and down. There was a palpable sense of community as Lacy sang. He asked, through his lyrics, if there was anyone out there like him, the whole crowd seemed to respond ‘We’re right here!’.
Lacy has expressed apprehension about his candor in Apollo XXI around the time it was released. It was clear, as he stood onstage in the House of Blues, that any lingering doubt was completely eradicated. His energy continued to grow as the performance continued; he seemed emboldened by every wave of cheers. It was evident in the way he danced around on stage, called out to the crowd, and kept flashing his award-winning smile.
Steve Lacy is the quintessential heart-throb. He’s dreamy, he’s sexy, but most of all, he knows just how powerful he is. He has the confidence of an incredibly attractive rock star, but none of the off-putting cockiness. Lacy knows how to work a room, whether he’s on stage with his band members as he’s playing with his band The Internet, singing alongside Vampire Weekend in a stadium show, or alone for his solo tour.
This was certainly evident in Thursday’s show, as the crowd went absolutely wild for his every move. As he leaned over to drink some water between songs, the room erupted in cheers. He smiled and posed. “Damn, I never realized that drinking water was so entertaining,” he laughed. “I’ll watch you do anything,'' enthusiastic fans called back.
One of the main differences you notice when you listen to Apollo XXI versus Lacy’s other work is his control over voice. Although he has been singing for most of his career and naturally has a good voice, it’s clear on Apollo that he’s taken vocal lessons. His bedroom-pop voice is now capable of disco falsettos. On this tour, Lacy was clearly showing off his new and improved voice. After almost every song, he concluded with a little vocal run, which always made the crowd go wild again.
I’ve seen Lacy perform five times. The Internet is one of my favorite bands, and I’ve followed them around both coasts. When he plays with his band, he still has the same confident demeanor that entrances the audience. He laughs and dances, but he has nowhere near the same energy as he did on Thursday night. While Lacy has established himself as an incredibly talented musician from an early age, he mostly works in tandem with others. This tour is one of the first times it is him and him only in the spotlight, and he absolutely thrives in the limelight.