Empress Of at Whelan’s on Thursday, March 28th 2019
Empress Of made her Dublin live debut with an emphatic performance of sleek and shimmering pop songs in Whelan’s. Lorely Rodriquez, AKA Empress Of has all the hallmarks of a star in the making; an effortless stage presence, a stellar voice and an ear for a hook. Her 15-song set was littered with moments of pop perfection without ever becoming saccharine.
Australia’s Banoffee, aka Martha Brown opened proceedings with a piercing set of her own. Her set was a hard-hitting selection of off-kilter electro quickly winning over the Dublin crowd with tracks such as Ripe, Bubble and Muscle Memory. She also raised a laugh when introing a song with a warning for the ladies in the audience not to date men who wear t-shirts with feminist slogans. Definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the likes of Bad Bones.
Meanwhile, Empress Of’s appearance was delayed by technical difficulties but this only served to heighten expectations with the sense of excitement palpable as Empress Of finally took to the stage. Trust Me Baby and its twin track In Dreams immediately lays out Rodriquez’s bilingual pop stall with the audience immediately captivated by her boundless energy.
Empress of is joined on stage by fellow LA based artist Erin Fein of Psychic Twin. Fein acts as the anchor to Rodriquez’s onstage antics, as she whirls around the stage. Fein can be found on synths and percussion and her voice is the perfect accompaniment to Rodriquez’s.
Just The Same has the languid feel of a Shura track infused with upbeat Latin vibes. Songs such as this All For Nothing and Water Water showcase Rodriguez’s ear for simple, infectious melodies at varied ends of the electro spectrum.
Her love of pop is personified by When I’m With Him which intros with a sample of Ariana Grande’s thank u, next. Rodriguez recently reworked the track from her 2018 album ‘Us’ with Perfume Genius. It’s a solid-gold pop treat with vocals that Grande would no doubt approve of. However, this track would easily be at home on a Tegan and Sara album as on from a pop princess.
By the time the ‘80s synth stabs of How Do You Do It arrived Whelan’s had completely surrendered to the groove to the point that Coppers probably wondered where it shapes had gotten to.
Then the rarest of rare things occurred, genuine lust for an encore erupted from the crowd and Empress Of duly obliged with Again and Best To You – one of her collaborations with Blood Orange – brought Whelan’s to fever pitch once more.
Judging by tonight’s performance you’d be hard pressed to find anybody bubbling under who deserves to be a pop star more than Empress Of does. A must see.