Halsey “Badlands” Tour, Sydney, 8 January 2016

I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again – pop music isn’t really my thing. There are a few bands that have made it through from my adolescence that I will always love (*coughs* THE JONAS BROTHERS *cough*) but over the last few years, my taste in music has drifted away from pop/punk music and more towards heavier stuff along the lines of the Devin Townsend Project, Judas Priest, and Machine Head to name a few.

However, on Friday the 8th of January, 2016, I found myself lining up to see electropop artist, Halsey. She caught my eye as an artist about a year ago when her music went viral on Tumblr; her work was being immortalised by her fans in the form of GIF sets, text posts, covers, and fan art but the thing that really caught my imagination about Halsey were her lyrics. There was something so wonderfully obscure and edgy about them that I became a fan without even listening to her music.

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(“Colors” by Halsey GIF set by Tumblr user hetsia)

It was before I had actually heard Halsey’s music that my friend, Merry, asked me to go to the concert with her. I think I may have heard one or two songs in passing but other than that, I barely knew any of Halsey’s music when Merry asked. Anyway, I obviously said yes because about six months later, there we were in line to see her…

…with about two thousand thirteen year olds.

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(Merry and I pre-show with our appropriate Starbucks purchases)

WE HAD TO HAVE BEEN TWO OF THE OLDEST PEOPLE THERE AND WE ARE BOTH 21-YEARS-OLD. LOOK AT US ^^ DO WE NOT HAVE OUR YOUTH? Needless to say, we were pretty stunned to see how many of the concert goers were 16-years or younger. It was the first time in my life that I have legitimately felt like an old person. They dressed differently (despite my attempts to look semi-cool in my oversized denim jacket and Converse), they used ridiculous slang (I will never understand the term “on fleek” and I don’t intend ever to try to), and they all tried their very best to copy Halsey’s signature hairstyles including short aqua hair, long coloured hair, or shaved heads all together. They reminded me of myself when I was fourteen, only I obsessed with Hayley Williams from Paramore. I always tried to copy her hairstyles, her fashion sense, and her voice but good lord, these kids were intimidatingly trendy and, well, adult. Honestly, my old person brain couldn’t help but think, “oh my god, where are your parents?” but at least they had the childlike decency to stick to non-alcoholic drinks like Redbull, Starbucks, and Spite unlike me at any concert I’ve been to in the last three years… *drinks whiskey directly from the flask*

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(Halsey’s support band for the evening, BØRNS)

That wasn’t the part that made me feel my age, though. It was the fact that following the amazing performance by Halsey’s support band called BØRNS, the entire crowd responded more to a recorded version of Justin Bieber’s “Sorry” than to the band that they just saw. Not only that but every time a new recorded song  that I didn’t recognise came on over the speakers, they would all scream so loudly that I thought Halsey was coming onto stage but ah, nah.

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(Halsey during one of her most popular tunes, “Ghost”)

Anyway, the show itself was pretty impressive. The woman certainly knows how to work a crowd with inspirational speeches and serious thanks for all the support that her Australian fan base has given her. If you didn’t already know, Halsey’s most recent album entitled “Badlands” (thus the tour name) made it to #2 on the Australian charts. Considering that she’d never been to Australia until earlier this week, I’d say that’s a pretty good feat of talent. The American singer sported an oversized Yeezus tour shirt, barely there shorts, and some babin’ thigh high boots throughout the entire show and god damn was it sexy. She’s certainly got a unique style that I want to emulate, so I guess I can see why all her teenage fans want to be her. Some of her lyrics also kind of support the whole “bad-bitch” image that I vividly get from her sense of style and I mean that in the best possible way. Seriously, one of the songs that she performed called “Castle” is just an almighty “up-yours” to the patriarchy among a plethora of other things and it just makes you feel like the most powerful person in the room.

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(Opening lighting)

The stage lighting was also unexpectedly beautiful for a live performance. It wasn’t the over the top flashing lights that you’d expect from your average pop performance; nope, it was all tastefully done in her signature soft aqua colour along with deep pinks, whites, and greens to name a few. It went shockingly easy on the sudden bout epilepsy you’d usually get at a concert, so I’d say it all went down pretty successfully and beautifully to boot.

Overall, the show was amazing. Halsey is one of the most confident female performers that I’ve ever seen live (okay, maybe she’s one step down from Hayley Williams of Paramore because that girl has got more energy than a little kid who’s off their dile on lemonade) and the lighting design along with the visual effects on the screen behind her was so reflective of her musical style. The only problem I had with the show was the age of her fan base. I mean, I’ve got nothing against having young fans but hearing all two thousand or so of them scream “if you want to go to heaven, you should fuck me tonight” during the song “Young God” was unsettling to the point of feeling a little bit like a paedophile just by being in the room. Not saying that you won’t enjoy yourself if you’re over the age of sixteen but just be prepared for some mildly uncomfortable moments throughout the show.

Anyway, listen to her song “Castle” – it’s such a confidence booster.

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