Poppy performed at the Buckhead Theater on April 6, bringing her “Never Find My Place Tour” to Atlanta.
The singer-songwriter and musician became a viral YouTube phenomenon in 2014 with her uncanny-valley performance art videos where she played an android-like character who made satirical commentary in a soft monotone voice about the internet and society.
She has now moved on from her YouTube days and transitioned into music. Poppy’s older music was more pop and followed a similar aesthetic to her old videos with bright colors and a whimsical feel.
With her most recent album “Flux” and tour, Poppy has embraced a more raw and metal heavy sound. While she is just as mysterious and soft-spoken as in her past, her impressive vocal versatility shines in her new music.
The night opened with a performance by Mz Neon, an artist whose music is as unpredictable as she is. Her lyrics are based on her experience as a trans woman, and her confident aura energized the crowd.
Mz Neon took the audience on a journey through rap, hyper pop, hard rock and beyond to establish her unique S&M-inspired sound and aesthetic. At one point she brought out a whip and started swinging it around on stage.
The artist ended her set by dedicating her last song to her fellow trans girls, and told them to never settle and to be proud of themselves for being who they are, which brought on cheers from the crowd.
There was a brief intermission before the main stage, and as the lights turned back a remix of what seemed like the “Chicken Dance” played over and over. The audience jokingly moshed and danced along to the song.
Though many fans were dressed in an intimidating manner with spiked accessories, dark clothing and tall platform boots, things are not always what they seem.
Everyone was very kind and during intermission, one concert-goer came up to different sections asking people if they wanted to mosh during the show and escorting those who agreed to the center.
Suddenly the lights switched off and the audience screamed with excitement.
After a moment, the stage was filled with flashes of color and light and the backdrop, a curricular black and white spiral began to spin, hypnotizing the crowd.
Poppy’s band then entered and they began to play a melody that crescendoed as the lights grew brighter along with the sound until a climax in which Poppy bounced onto the stage.
The band started with “Lessen the Damage” as Poppy made robotic movements across the stage and the ramp in front of the backdrop.
The first part of the set was energetic and highlighted Poppy’s masterful balance between cute and sinister which was present in both her mannerisms and music. She can quickly go from a chest-rattling scream to whisper-soft singing in less than a second.
Poppy’s music is mixed in a way that is dynamic and exciting as the switch between heavy metal to a softer melody keeps the songs interesting.
Also during the night, she played multiple instruments including electric guitar and a synthesizer.
At one point between song transitions, the lights turned off and when they came back on, Poppy sat at the synthesizer sitting like a doll that had been left behind, waiting to be alone to continue to play.
She seemed to have a lot of energy but kept her talking to a minimum.
Poppy performed for nearly 40 minutes before taking a break to briefly talk to the crowd and introduce a new song.
“It’s a slow song, and I feel an abundant energy in the crowd,” she said as the crowd cheered. “So I’ll need you to take hold…” she said as the crowd held its breath, “and then erupt.”
The second half of the night highlighted her heavy songs, including one of her most popular songs “Anything Like Me.”
The singer ended the official set with “Never Find My Place,” referencing the tour name and the artist who seems to shine when she does not try to fit in.
The night did not end there as Poppy returned to the stage following the audience’s chanting for more.
“Do you want another song?” Poppy asked the crowd in her usual soft voice. “Can you provide me with your last bit of energy?”
The audience screamed in agreement and Poppy quickly moved onto a back-to-back set of “I Disagree” and “Bite Your Teeth,” which are some of her most metal-heavy and vocally demanding songs.
The encore finished with a final scream, and Poppy quickly waved to the crowd and exited the stage, thus ending the musical roller coaster of a performance.