Christine and the Queens @ 9:30 Club - 11/4/2018

It all started with a scene that could have played out in West Side Story. Underneath blinding stage lights, a group of people came together on stage, made some small talk, and then suddenly, their leader arrived: "Look, there's Chris!"

Héloïse Letissier of Christine and the Queens (Photo by Mauricio Castro /  @themauricio )

Héloïse Letissier of Christine and the Queens (Photo by Mauricio Castro / @themauricio)

Stepping out in her short hair and oversized dress shirt, France’s Héloïse Letissier has made a marked visual change since her last visit to DC. On the lyrically aggressive Chris, she is taking on toxic masculinty through the crystalline pop sounds of the 80’s. And with it, Lettier has also changed her look. In a recent interview with Zane Lowe, she explained:

“It had to be Chris at some point because I was bolder and stronger and had more muscle. At the same time, it’s me announcing to myself that I’m about to become that… It’s very much you allowing yourself to be even more, you know. This is why, to me, it didn’t seem like a stunt or anything. I had to make it visible and really blatant for people that something changed in me, and I was actually getting stronger.”

From the dance solos to the impressive slow-motion fight sequence that took place around Letissier on "The Stranger” and the clever use of smoke bombs emanating from jackets on "Goya Soda," the choreography brought the motifs of violence and aggression to life in a way that helps contextualize the songs on Chris. And as the star of the show, Letissier didn't miss a beat or a note through every routine and verse. Her captivating a cappella vocals on the ballad "Night 52" showed off her deep vocal range beautifully, even more so when she closed the song with the chorus of Michael Jackson's "Man in the Mirror." Plus, it was hard to resist a dance party to close the night when Letissier and company danced their way from the balcony to the pit for the four-on-the-floor beats of “Intranquilite.” Yes, she owes a lot of her show and her latest album to the likes of Michael/Janet Jackson, but Letissier’s aggressive delivery paired with the choreographed dance sequences was refreshing, unique, and damn fun to witness.

Chris is out now through Because Music.

Opening for Christine and the Queens was NYC-by-way-of-Morocco singer Dounia. Her latest release is the self-released single “Everything’s A Joke.”

Photos by Mauricio Castro

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