"I couldn't speak until this morning -- bear with me!" were among the first words that left the mouth of Sky Ferreira when she took the stage at New York's Bowery Ballroom on Wednesday night (Mar. 20). Battling a sore throat that had forced her to cancel the previous night's show in Washington, D.C., the 20-year-old singer didn't have her A-game at her NYC show, but fortunately, the crowd had her back.
Unable to hit the high notes of the slowed-down, sentimental "Sad Dream," she received a round of good-natured applause for trying as crowd members filled in the vocals themselves. Later on, lighters were raised high in the front row to guide Ferreira through "Ghost" in an unspoken showing of solidarity.
The synth-pop banger "Lost In My Bedroom" didn't quite exude the set-opening swagger it could have. Call it nerves, call it the lingering effects of an ear and throat infection, call it being 20 and having to headline over far more seasoned live musicians (indie R&B warbler How To Dress Well proved to be a riveting opener). Ferreira didn't triumph, but she persevered.
Despite the vocal struggles, last night's performance showed Ferreira gaining confidence and coming out of her shell as a performer. She had been criticized in the past for her lack of audience interaction and for hiding her face behind her abundance of blonde hair -- though if anything obscured her on Wednesday night, it was the inexplicably overactive fog machine onstage. Just about every toughed-out song was followed up by a red-faced apology such as "If anyone wants their money back, I'll be personally writing I.O.U.s." Although the Bowery crowd didn't get the best Sky performance, they got in touch with Sky the person.
They also got a taste of three new songs, in addition to every cut from last year's "Ghost" EP. The EP, which featured contributions from producers like Greg Kurstin, Dev Hynes, and Ariel Rechtshaid, showed the singer trying out a variety of genres, from John Hughes-inspired new wave to raucous 90s rock. Two of the night's three unnamed new songs showcased a marriage of the two.
Ferreira will have a chance to hone her craft (and hopefully, get well) as she tours North America through April 10, hyping her forthcoming debut LP, due sometime later this year.
Here is the set list from Sky Ferreira's Mar. 20 performance:
Lost in My Bedroom
Everything Is Embarrassing