My question, after seeing George Lewis, Jr.—aka Twin Shadow—perform at D.C.’s Black Cat in late September was simple: how does this man have the time to make such wonderful pop music while he’s having all that sex? Lewis made love to each individual member of the sold out crowd that night, myself included, giving a new meaning to the phrase “intimate venue”. And I’ll tell you, even as a man who has made a life out of trying to have sex with women, I rather enjoyed it.
Lewis slapped his own mug onto the cover of his excellent 2012 LP, Confess, for good reason. He’s a beautiful dude. But his music would have its own paramour powers even if he looked more like Andre the Giant than a Dominican dreamboat. Lewis blends the melodrama of 80’s power pop with the bedroom grooves of chillwave, and his live show emphasizes both of these elements to create a bold, Technicolor canvas of over-emoting.
The set focused heavily on Confess, with a few choice cuts from the quieter Forget (2010) thrown in for flavor. Even those tracks, especially the fantastic closer “At My Heels”, gained a dose of neon muscle in live arrangement. Otherwise, songs like “Five Seconds” and “Beg for the Night” brought the room’s energy into the red, as summertime anthems should, while ballads like “Run My Heart” and a stripped down, solo version of “The One” displayed the nuanced melodic sense in Lewis’s music. That latter gift, often overshadowed by the globs of emotion Lewis strews all over his compositions, is the secret of his success, and his verses are often just as catchy—if not more so—than his choruses. He oozes hooks as much as sex appeal and pomade.
A word, too, for openers Niki & the Dove, a Swedish electropop duo who amped up the crowd with big beats and vocalist Malin Dahlström’s contagious charisma. Together with Lewis and his band, they made a great case for never turning our back on the ‘80s. Raise your synths into the air in triumph.