Earlier this year SG Lewis was enjoying a drink in his parents' living room, celebrating the release of his debut album, times. Its 10 tracks practically bubble over with euphoric sound design and dance-pop spirit, both made for and inspired by the clubs we so sorely missed.
But as they say, all good things take time.
The renowned Brit's long-awaited performance of times in Los Angeles was well worth the wait. Complete with live vocals, keys and guitar from Lewis, JAB provided support on percussion alongside Victoria Aycock on keys and bass.
Kicking off the sold-out show at Shrine Auditorium was indietronica duo NEIL FRANCES, whose own headlining tour goes on sale this Friday. They performed their first-ever club set for the occasion, trading out a full band for otherworldly synths and simmering percussion lines. A stirring rendition of Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You" set the crowd on fire.
Still, this enthusiasm didn't hold a candle to the reception Lewis received when he finally appeared onstage. A bright smile was plastered on his face as the opening chords of his album's titular single rang through the venue. It would remain there for the entire show.
Lewis' 70-minute set flowed seamlessly through each track on times, venturing into disco dance breaks and crowd singalongs. "Heartbreak On The Dancefloor" (with Frances) proved powerfully cathartic, while the hypnotic "All We Have" (with Lastlings) brought the crowd to its knees for a spiritual mosh pit.
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Special guests Aluna and Lucky Daye, who performed "Hurting" and "Feed The Fire," respectively, also injected the concert with some much-needed onstage energy. Lewis, though shining remarkably bright as a live vocalist and instrumentalist, still has some work to do on his showmanship.
Another surprise of the show was its techno sonics, which were used for song transitions as well as an unreleased remix of "Impact" (with Robyn and Channel Tres). While the genre has been previously unexplored by Lewis, at least in the public eye, this display may hint at a new creative direction for the disco devotee.
Closing out the concert with a bang were two crowd favorites: "Chemicals," off times, and a remix of "More Than A Woman" by the Bee Gees. "I don't usually play remixes," Lewis said, "but apparently this one went viral on TikTok."
Kaleidoscopic lasers fanned their way across the auditorium, met by the fingertips of 5,000 fans with their hands in the air. Simply put, these tracks was electric. There's nothing quite like feeling the walls resonate with the sound of a singing crowd. For Lewis, they shook like a classic California earthquake.
It takes someone special to transform a venue into one big dancefloor, roping in even the back row head nodders. Lewis, it appears, is just that guy.