Written by Noelle Simeon
The electronic mastermind, Alison Wonderland, seemed especially excited to perform at the Shrine Auditorium on Friday, April 1st, 2022. Earlier in the day, she posted to Twitter that it was “going to be the first time ever that my mum and my bf see me sing live…”
If she was nervous at all, her performance did not indicate it so. Alison’s current tour, the Loner Tour, is promoting her upcoming 3rd studio album, Loner, out on May 6th. She jokingly referred to it as the “I am not quite ready to share my album title or artwork yet” tour, until she premiered the artwork on her socials on March 7th.
I hadn’t been to the Shrine Auditorium in years, and even longer since I’ve been to an electronica show. And, wow, what a perfect night to experience both. Fishnets? Check. Nipple tape? Check. Bearded bros? Not what I was used to from my lite raver days, but sure…check.
Julie and I entered the venue and were met with the beautiful Moroccan décor and design that is the Shrine Auditorium, which I forgot how truly stunning the theatre is inside. After taking a few personal pics of the lobby, we made our way to the expo hall where the concert was taking place. The lights were pretty dim, save some blacklights over us, the bar areas, and the stage lights illuminating the crowd. There was a low amount of fog that filled the space, creating an instant air of theatre.
The opening acts, Quiet Bison and Manila Killa, helped warm up the audience from the two-story DJ booth upon the stage. Quiet Bison seemed a bit shy and took a few songs to really get into the groove of his performance. His boyish charm could be felt in the crowd as he shyly waved and danced. By his fourth song, he seemed to become more comfortable, and waving became visits to the front of the stage where he danced and interacted with the audience.
When it was Manila Killa‘s turn, he greeted us and opened with his hit featuring Satica, “Youth.” The hall was starting to fill more, and a happy crowd entered dancing and grooving along with Manila. He spoke to the crowd a lot and had everyone jamming throughout his set.
Between acts, I noticed on the stage were two sets of drums, one electronic cello, and a screen of lights that had not yet been utilized. Alison Wonderland is no stranger to using visuals and live musicians for her performances, as she herself plays the cello often onstage, and has had both big and small symphonies in previous shows.
The crowd was definitely ready for Alison when she appeared. Many fans could be spotted sporting freshly purchased ‘Loner’ shirts, as well as “fuck me up on a spiritual level” gear, which is a reference to lyrics from her song, “Happy Place.”
The huge screen behind her lit up with rain as moody beats slowly began. Onscreen, we see a shadowy version of Alison float up as if possessed, to the ceiling. The lights slowly change from rain to red, and she starts playing her hit, “I Want U.“
As Alison dances and sings at her booth, the visuals behind her play out scenes from the track’s music video. All of us are dancing with her, truly feeling each beat she passionately drops. One thing was for sure: we were ready for Alison’s adventure.
The smaller screen on the front of the DJ booth intertwined with the bigger one behind her. Sometimes the bigger screen would show her live from the venue, along with special effects making it seem as if she were creating a music video in front of us. The smaller screen in front of the DJ booth would show still imagery or featured its own array of light effects.
As Alison had done with “I Want U,” clips from her videos “Fuck U, Love U,” “New Day,” and “Bad Things,” flashed as she performed those songs. There was even a small clip from the movie “The Exorcism of Emily Rose,” with Jennifer Carpenter’s face screaming along with Alison’s beats.
She performed her own hits such as “Cry,” “Sometimes Love,” and “Fear of Dying.” A wonderful surprise was the use of live musicians that could be seen throughout the performance, hidden behind the web of screens that was only visible when Alison wanted us to see them. Alison played her electric cello beautifully during “Good Enough.” A pair of percussionists stepped onto the front of the stage for “Run,” adding even more energy to an already hyped audience.
I was enjoying Alison‘s original songs and vocals so much that I almost forgot she was a DJ that was first known for remixes. She hit us with remixes of “Song 2” by 90s band, Blur, “New Rules” by Dua Lipa, and “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G., the crowd excitedly singing along to each one.
Towards the end of her performance, I moved to the 2nd story balcony, and wish I had gone there sooner. Alison‘s show is both visually and musically compelling no matter where you are, but you can truly see the creativity of her vision from afar.
If there’s one thing I learned that night, it’s that Alison‘s fans LOVE HER. The audience knew every word to both her older hits and newer singles from her upcoming album, Loner. They were here to headbang to her beat drops, sway with their cellphone lights, and clap along to her fast tempos. We were all in the palm of her hand, and she took care of us to the end.
When the final song was coming to a close, Alison told us how much she loved L.A., like a 2nd home, and thanked her mom for flying out from Australia. As I now know the importance of her mother being there, I believe Alison has so much to be proud of from this show. I am pretty sure she fucked all of us up on a spiritual level, and we will be forever grateful.
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