In the modern age, women still have trouble being respected and equalized in various professions and cultural importance across the board. However, I feel in music women are the front runners and ground-breakers leading the way for the zeitgeist and trends of each decade. This is even more potent when they stand together and use their artistic expression and shared vision but varied musical and visual aesthetics to bring their sound to the hungry masses; that sound is “The Sound of Woman.” Canadian born but New York bred deep-house darling Kiesza and Australian synth-pop princess Betty Who kept the crowd dancing hard Thursday night at Fitzgerald’s Houston. When I arrived an hour before the doors opened and Betty Who began, the line was already going toward the sidewalk as the anxious crowd was ready to be electrified by electro-pop realness. Yet, you could see a clear divide in the crowd once we made it inside. Some of the patrons were there to see the headliner Kiesza, while some of the crowd were even more obviously die-hard members of the “Who Crew” (the name Betty Who has given her fans.) Regardless, it was all love once the pre-show music began to play and everyone started losing their minds when Technotronic’s electronica-house classic “Pump Up the Jam” began to blare through the speakers.
Betty Who started things off with her break-up jam “Heartbreak Dream.” A fiery start due to the fact that this song showcases her natural singer-songwriter skills infused with her love for 80s synths and driving club beats. Being the opener she only had an hour, but she masterfully plowed through a 10 song set with classics such as “Dreaming of You,” “Runaways,” “High Society,” and her hits “All of You,” and of course her closer “Somebody Loves You.” Her band was eclectic and in the pocket with synchronized dance moves a-la 90s girl groups like TLC or The Spice Girls but with instruments. So think Josie and the Pussycats or The Jackson 5.
After a 30 minute break, Kiesza took the stage. She had 2 backup dancers, a guy on keys, and one hell of a drummer. She started off firing on all cylinders; strobs, a house beat, and a fully synchronized dance intro before she even sang her first note. The full-capacity crowd was going nuts and eating up every bit of New York dance club flavor she was serving them. Her dancers were incredible, and her band was tight and in the pocket to boot. She was great with the crowd and actually got really intimate by shaking hands, singing to the front row (including directly to me at one point), and using the classic use of crowd singing participation. Her set-list went from deep-house cuts from her album “The Sound of a Woman,” like “Losing My Mind,” “Giant In My Heart,” and “So Deep” to ballads like “Cut Me Loose” and her iconic acoustic cover of the Haddaway classic “What is Love?”
Her light show was also spectacular; all the way down to her light-saber-esque mic stand
She ended the show strong with snippets from tracks she had done with Joey Bada$$ (“Teach Me”) and Skrillex and Diplo (“Take U There”) and finally her viral video hit “Hideaway.” Actually, she “ended” the show by crowd surfing and it went over rather well.
Overall, it was inspiring not only to see these talented and strong women totally command this crowd, but to see them do it together and support each other for an audience. Being a long time fan of both of them, I was not disappointed and I danced so hard my calves hurt for days. I recommend everyone go see these ladies if you get the chance.
Have you seen these ladies on tour? Would you like to? Their tour dates can be found here.
Follow Betty Who on Twitter because she’s hilarious!
By Trent Lira