Review: Kim Petras Saves Pop in Minneapolis
Even the slowest song had a dance break at her sold out Fine Line Music Cafe show.
June 21, 2019
The lights went out, and the sold out Fine Line Music Cafe went into hysterics. A Siri-like voice box instructed the Broken Tour crowd to reply “Ah!” every time they heard “Woo.” After a few test runs and a robotic countdown, producer-songwriter Aaron Joseph took his position behind a DJ booth. Then came the star of the night, Kim Petras, who bounced on stage to “Got My Number.” The catchy track includes fellow pop artist Jesse Saint John’s phone number, which Petras’ devoted audience knew by heart.
“You guys sound so good tonight,” Petras said, before launching into the bubblegum “Hills,” as Jigglypuff Pokémon visuals played on video screens flanking the stage. It was unclear if the stage had a smoke machine or if it was just Joseph hitting his vape. That lent a casual, chill vibe to a modern pop show which featured no dancers, just the raw talent of a producer and an emerging pop queen.
Petras introduced many of her songs with a few lyrics from them, which the feverish crowd immediately got. The hot venue was clearly filled with true fans, and the mostly twenty-something audience sang along to every lyric like they had a deep connection.
“Anybody in this bitch got their heart broken recently? Same, sis,” said Petras, before launching into the song she named her first tour after, “Broken”; the subtle-yet-driving groove of which sets the stage for Petras’ powerful voice to shine. Over the track’s nearly four minutes, Petras sings in many styles. She also outshined the studio version several times with impressive, Auto-Tune-free live belting. Throughout the night, Petras stunned vocally with a combination of singing alone to instrumentals and along to her own studio vocals.
Kim Petras left the stage as guest vocals from Elvira played along to spooky visuals. This segued into the portion of the night inspired by Petras’ love of Halloween, and her EP Turn Off the Light, Vol. 1. She reemerged in a black, ballerina-type outfit reminiscent of the thriller Black Swan.
Her hard-hitting new track “Personal Hell” fit perfectly between songs from her Halloween EP. The track references lyrics and titles from classic pop songs in its own lyrics, and is like an all-pop spin on “Personal Jesus.” It’s a highlight from her new project Clarity, out June 27.
Petras is a natural dancer and visually entertained the crowd while still delivering powerhouse vocals. Between vogueing, and breaking it down hard to huge crowd reactions, her moves were well-received and exciting. It’s easy to imagine her keeping up with backup dancers on future tours.
“People can say a lot of shit about me, but not being memorable is not one of those things,” Petras teased — an agreeable statement. Kim Petras represents the biggest chance pure, unabashed pop music has of making a huge comeback. Her personality and music is memorable, she’s proud of it all, and she has what it takes to save the genre.
The German pop savior left the stage as Joseph spinned a club-level loud outro of Petras’ instrumental track “Boo! Bitch!” She retook the stage wearing a small aquamarine body suit and a necklace dripping with jewels, greeting fans with, “Wassup, I love you so much — thank you for coming!”
Even her slowest song of the night, “Slow It Down,” had a dance breakdown attached. It was more confirmation that she has little interest in the boring styles of contemporary Top 40 radio, and is making pop music fun again. Petras explained that she started writing pop music because of what albums like Gwen Stefani’s “Love, Angel, Music, Baby” and Britney Spears’ “Blackout” did for her growing up. “[The albums] let me forget my problems. Forget yours tonight. Take that, and do it all the time.”
Her fans clacked their own large fans in support of the artist, who also touched on Pride. “I’m trans, remember? I’m fucking proud,” Petras said, acknowledging how cool it was she was playing Minneapolis on Friday night of Twin Cities Pride.
That beautiful energy was sustained for the rest of the show, including a much louder encore of bangers “Heart to Break” and “Sweet Spot.” The roughly 80-minute show was a nonstop smorgasbord of pure pop excellence, and a testament to why those in-the-know feel Kim Petras has the power to resurrect an entire music genre.
What’s your favorite Kim Petras song? DM me on IG! Instagram.com/DerekPlease