August 22, 2023
Photos by Grant Ivie
YouTuber turned metal sensation Poppy came to the Regency Ballroom on a recent Tuesday night to roll through an action-packed set that spanned her past few releases. And in typical Poppy fashion, the whole evening seemed like it was an extended YouTube sketch, practically begging the audience to answer the question: What is Poppy?
The set started off with the techno-groove metal of “BLOODMONEY,” which featured all sorts of dense electronic instrumentation and slashing electric guitar riffs to complement Poppy’s vocal acrobatics, of which there were many. Few singers can so effortlessly move between harsh and clean vocal lines quite like Poppy.
Next up was a bit of a more low-key song in the form of the danceable techno of “Church Outfit” before Poppy and her band picked it up again for a wild version of “Bite Your Teeth.” The song began with a crushing syncopated guitar/drum groove before wildly transitioning to a syrupy-sweet chorus, only to abruptly stop and turn on a dime to an incredibly heavy metal breakdown.
The next couple of songs were a bit more downbeat before Poppy unveiled a never before released track in the form of “Hard,” a spiky up-tempo rocker which saw Poppy playing bass and singing the song’s catchy refrain.
As the set continued into the evening, the song selection got progressively heavier and more intense as Poppy ripped through a few more tracks from her metal album “I Disagree,”including the ferocious “Sit/Stay” and “Anything Like Me”.
To close out the main portion of the set, Poppy ripped through an inspired version of the song “I Disagree,” another crunching slab of grooving metal and dark synths with Poppy weaving through clean and harsh vocals.
Finally, Poppy closed out the evening with the all-time classic “Concrete.” The song alternated between soaring Japanese pop and slamming metal, all the while maintaining its melodic center as Poppy sang about wanting to be buried in concrete and turned into a street. The piece finally ended with a feel-good guitar/drum jam over the song’s final refrain, ending the night on an unbelievable high note.
Few YouTube creators are able to make the transition to full-fledged musician, let alone the type of musician that is not only taken seriously by the mainstream music press, but also has a legion of devoted fans. As evidenced by the strong turnout for a Tuesday night show in San Francisco, and the impressive musical performances, Poppy has both of those things in spades.
Pvris opened the evening with a strong blend of icy synthesizers, booming drums, winding guitar lines, and the high-energy vocals of front woman Lynn Gunn. While most of the band’s set consisted of new material from their recently-released record Evergreen, there were still plenty of spots for older songs, such as the anthemic “Dead Weight,” a searing piece of techno rock that was the perfect showcase for Gunn’s vocal skills.
The band closed out their set with the heavy alt-rock of “My House,” from their debut record White Nois,e and the bouncing electronica of “Goddess,” from their latest album, a snappy up-tempo piece that really seemed to get the crowd going.
Poppy Setlist: BLOODMONEY | Church Outfit | Bite Your Teeth | Hysteria | Breeders | Knockoff | Hard | Sit / Stay | Her | Anything Like Me | Scary Mask | X | Don’t Go Outside | Lessen the Damage | My Microphone | I Disagree || Encore || Concrete
Pvris Setlist: I DON’T WANNA DO THIS ANYMORE | Animal | Dead Weight | Fire | HYPE ZOMBIES | Smoke | Monster | Good Enemy | Love Is A… | Use Me | SENTI‐MENTAL | Anywhere but Here | Mirrors | Hallucinations | TAKE MY NIRVANA | EVERGREEN | HEADLIGHTS | Death of Me | My House | Goddess