Concert Reviews

Lorde is not a goth, but she proved her pop-star staying power in Denver

When Lorde became widely known following the release of her hit single "Royals," the term "goth" was quickly attached to her music, and even more to her visual style. Vanity Fair referred her as the Queen of Darkness.

Well, the goths didn't get that memo, and Lorde's sold-out show over the weekend in Denver seemed to be mostly attended by the kind of mixed crowd any rapidly rising pop star might draw, from children all the way to seniors who haven't dismissed Lorde's songs as silly kids' stuff. For her part, the singer born Ella Yelich-O'Connor seemed completely in command of her powers as a performer while also projecting a subtle but deep vulnerability. She displayed a surprising degree of self-possession, something that many people take most of their lives to develop. Perhaps that capacity could fulfill the clumsy requirements of genre tags like goth or emo, but in this case, they're limiting. No great (or potentially great) pop singer would be worth much without an ability to articulate emotional tenderness and honesty, and Lorde just might be a great pop star.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.