The opening band for the gigantic The Pretenders tour was hand-selected by Chrissie Hynde herself, and when she picked, she found the coolest electro-pop, psychedlic band on the planet: Lowlight.
Fronted by the creamy, intense-voiced Renee Maskin, I got to speak to her for a few minutes after the show. “If you mash together David Bowie and Willie Nelson, you got us. We always thought that would be an interesting approach to writing songs…” she said.
And it is.
On stage, Renee has a strong, rooted presence. She cursed in droves, told us how she got fired from her job before hitting the road, and toasted the audience with her flask.
Lowlight’s roots-pop set is chock full of songs from their new EP, Born to Run. “We’re hoping Bruce (Springsteen) is flattered more than offended,” Renee claimed.
The songs spoke for themselves, with every crescendo lifting us to a higher and higher place, along with a greater level of intensity. It’s said the best songs take you on a three-minute ride, and Lowlight knew how to do just that.
They are an eclectic mix of folk-y old souls, yet the synth and their approach to songwriting gives them a new, edgier feel – while staying reminiscent of the roots rockers that preceded them. You can hear their influence well into The Pretenders set.
The two bands genuinely complemented each other.
The highlights of the set included an as-yet unparalleled cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes”, which the band breathed out as if they wrote it. “I, I wish you could swim. Like the dolphins – like dolphins can swim….” Renee crooned with an vulnerable, yet assertive, swagger. The second highlight was the intimate “Bones”, where Renee put down her guitar and picked up her flask to take a few sips before letting us in.
She just sang.
Her intoxicating innocence and experience enraptured us all. She never let us go.
Lowlight seductively pulled us in with both compelling musicality, and authentic class. They gave us all a surprise from one song to the next–and isn’t that what rock n’ roll is all about?