Words edited by Anna Mengani, Photos by Serena Yang
On Tuesday, May 9th, Noise Disrup-bution Magazine got the chance to catch Rebecca Black’s Let Her Burn Tour in Montreal at Theatre Fairmont, opened by Pretty Privilege and Mazie.
DJ Pretty Privilege
“She’s not Rebecca Black, she’s Rebecca Back!” said Jake, an enthusiastic fan I met in line for the American singer’s Let Her Burn Tour. He had driven all the way from Vermont to catch her perform her debut album of the same name. We had both arrived an hour early in hopes of getting a good spot; our patience paid off as we were 2nd and 3rd in line, snagging coveted spots in the front row and center stage.
Her album, Let Her Burn (2023), follows her first EP, Rebecca Black Was Here (2019) in the hyper-pop genre, imbued with heavier and grittier synth sounds. The lyrics tell themes of the blurred line between pain and pleasure, finding confidence in the face of torment, the conflicting feelings that follow heartbreak, and the shattering and reinvention of one’s identity.
The pop artist had an unconventional start in her career after her infamous 2011 teen-pop song 'Friday.' The music video went viral, subsequently turning the 13-year-old into a target for mass bullying. Since then, she’s shed her identity as a ridiculed meme as she released her own original music; the sound reminiscent of hyperpop icons such as Charli XCX and Kim Petras. She even managed to reclaim Friday by releasing a hyper-pop remix in 2021 featuring Big Freedia, 3OH!3, Dorian Electra, produced by Dylan Brady of 100 gecs. However, Rebecca doesn’t rely on the irony of her reputation as a teen internet star, nor does she fall back on a tacky good-girl-gone-bad trope to disassociate from her past - she has proven to be an established artist in her own right and puts on a hell of a show.
Pretty Privilege, a DJ from Montreal, played energetic pop hits as fans rolled into the venue. Her set included Ice Spice, Slayyyter and other adjacent trending artists.
The energy picked up as Mazie and her two-piece band hit the stage an hour later. The LA artist is well known for her hit dumb dumb which was featured on the Netflix film, Do Revenge (2022), and shortly after became a viral sound on TikTok. She performed tracks from her debut album blotter baby (2023); my favorites included 'girls just wanna have sex', 'all i ever wanted (was you)', 'menace', 'i look good', and of course, 'dumb dumb.' Her songs tell stories of sapphism, self-empowerment, introspection, and toxic relationships - all whilst keeping a playful and, at times, mischievous tone. Mazie twirled around the stage in a corset and lace skirt - her pastel aesthetic contrasting the neon psychedelic visuals projected behind her. Her chemistry with her bandmates was clear throughout the equally whimsical and electric performance.
After a brief intermission, the lights dimmed, signaling the start of Rebecca’s set. Her fans started chanting her initials "RB” as strobes pulsed to the ominous sound of a heartbeat. Her two dancers emerged draped in black robes, one carrying Rebecca over his shoulder limp as if she was a ragdoll. He set her down and as she got on her feet, the track for 'Crumbs' started, its lyrics detailing being intoxicated on infatuation over a dark and dissonant electro-pop production. She then followed up with 'What Am I Gonna Do With You', another bass-heavy, edgier track from the record. Although her opening performance was moody and dominating, the atmosphere in the venue quickly lightened up as she welcomed the audience and thanked them sincerely for their support. The set shifted into a few brighter-sounding songs, such as 'Destroy Me' and 'Personal', during which, her dancers came out decked out in BDSM harnesses and brandished rhinestone bedazzled chainsaws. Bizarrely enough, in the middle of her set, she played a bouncy hyper-pop cover of Vanessa Carlton’s 'A Thousand Miles.' It was definitely off-putting at first but she successfully pulled it off, making it a highlight of the night.
Rebecca had the entire venue dancing to 'Doe Eyed.' Everyone cheered in excitement as her dancers came out with comically large fake breasts strapped to their chests, bending over the audience to let them cop a feel. After nearly an hour of performing, she closed off her set with 'Look at You' and 'Performer', two more vulnerable songs that detail the sentiment of wishing a friend could see the goodness she sees in them, and of struggling with a fragmented identity. She then returned to the stage for an encore, playing the iconic 'Friday (Remix)' and her hit 'Girlfriend' from Rebecca Black Was Here. "Be safe, stay hydrated, love one another, and let her burn baby!” were her parting words to the crowd as she blew a kiss and strutted off the stage.
The last time I really listened to Rebecca Black after the Friday fiasco was around 2016 when she was uploading vanilla pop covers on her Youtube, so this concert was a jolting reintroduction to her as a musician and as a persona. My favorite tracks from her set, now saved to my playlist and on repeat, are 'Crumbs', 'What Am I Gonna Do With You', 'Doe Eyed', 'Erase You', and 'Look At You.' This performance commanded attention and she had the audience wrapped around her finger the entire night. As her fan, Jake, said to me in the line, she truly is back and I’d recommend catching one of her shows as she tours North America.
DJ Pretty Privilege's Social Media
Mazie's Social Media
Rebecca Black's Social Media