A hush fell over the crowd at The Warfield on March 17 as the stage lights flashed brilliantly, with a slow murmur building as the crowd anticipated UPSAHL’s arrival. A spacey psychedelic hum started to play as the pop artist’s two bandmates took the stage in bright orange jumpsuits. UPSAHL, conversely, took the stage in darkness, the crowd cheering at her silhouette as she approached center stage. She picked up her bass and slapped it twice, cutting the noise of the experimental hum and murmuring crowd. Red lights illuminated the stage, and UPSAHL immediately jumped into her angsty track “People I Don’t Like” with full force.
Halfway through the song, she discarded her bass to bounce around stage freely. Even as she screamed her lyrics, she made sure to give special attention to her crowd, constantly pointing the mic at them and encouraging them to sing along. Although she tripped slightly a couple of times in her combat boots, she laughed it off charismatically and somehow never missed a beat. The stage’s disorderly setup proved to be a minor obstacle, but UPSAHL’s intense stage presence shone through.
Dark clothes, chains and fishnets stood out in the crowd, and while the audience’s energy occasionally simmered, UPSAHL consistently glittered with vivacity. Being an opener can be an arduous task, yet UPSAHL’s edgy vigor seemed to indicate that if she wanted to prove herself as a rockstar, this was the time to do it.
Although many of her songs tend to fall into the alt rock genre, her performance had more of a punk rock aesthetic. Instead of using backtracks to accompany her vocals, UPSAHL’s drummer and guitarist helped punch in the aggressive sound she was searching for, offering especially funky, hard-hitting bass lines on songs such as “Idfwfeelings” and “Thriving.” Filled with UPSAHL’s playful storminess and sharp-witted angst, the evening proved that the upcoming artist is undeniably a dual threat on stage.
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