August, and a friend of mine posts a video he found on, youtube’s HD older brother, Vimeo on his Facebook. It’s a bricolage of old super8 videos and stock footage from the 60s/70s set to the most haunting and beautiful singing you’ve heard in your life. My exact words at the time were ‘Jesus she’d break your fucking heart with a voice like that’…
That video in question was the first original cut of Video Games by Lana Del Rey. Lana Del who? Well, at the time no one knew. Fast forward two months and she has become the internet’s latest musical sensation. Since then a few “little” things, just an Interscope record deal, Jools Holland appearance and a sold out UK tour. An unbelievable twenty minutes is all it took for Miss Del Rey to sell out dates from Manchester to Glasgow to London.
Packed into the crowded cellar of the Oran Mor in Glasgow, a former 17th century church refurbished with a restaurant/bar and venue, hipsters to newly won fans stood; sardines in a tin. The lights dimmed as the orchestral theme from Hitchcock’s Psycho blasted through the PA. The band took their positions and Miss Del Rey appeared.
Stunning, she shimmered under the spotlight and gained roaring approval from a crowd who needed nothing from her to prove herself. They were already crazy about her.
‘Blue Jeans‘ and ‘Video Games’ were mixed into the set with six other, presumably upcoming tracks from a big label debut. Including ‘Without You’ and followup single ‘Born to Die‘. Being a bit of a Del Rey fanatic, I was tentatively hoping for a track or two off of the debut EP maybe ‘Mermaid Motel’ or ‘Say Can You See’ but this is all about the new, and the crowd loved it. Dusty Springfield incarnated at every oppurtunity and Nancy Sinatra channelled often, their nostaglic swoon-inspiring aesthetic given a modern edge with Lana’s gangster hip.
At times it was great to see, Lana herself, in pure amazement at the instant adoration she drew from the assembled masses. It brought a smile to see her blush or awkwardly stick out her tongue bashfully when met with insane applause and woops. Rather bravely, she announced just before the last track that she had no encore and that this would be it for the night. A few disappointed ‘awws’ but generally an audience accepting of the fact that a mere two months previous the lady’s name had virtually no resonance on this side of the pond, so no one could’ve expected a two hour set with numerous indulgent encores (no matter how much we’d have liked it.)
I travelled to Glasgow with three complete strangers, I’d tweeted about going to the gig and got a DM saying ‘Fancy a travel buddy? I’d love to go see her’. Don’t get me wrong I love, and have often travelled alone for gigs to the UK. But through some happy fate and a mutual love Lana Del Rey’s music; myself, Ciara, Eimear and Una all ended up in Glasgow on Bonfire night having booked the cheapest Ryanair flights we could find.
Being on a complete shoestring budget, we’d not booked any beds for the night. We figured we’d meet the morning head on as our flight was a 6.30am job. So, we skulked around the Oran Mor thereafter, pints in hand. Eventually deciding the only right thing to do on Bonfire night was to light a solitary firework commemorating a great trip. Myself and Una ventured off in search of said firecracker or skyrocket. By some sheer luck we ended up finding Lana in the back bar of the Oran Mor. After a time, we plucked up the courage to go over and say hello.
We talked Jools, the Internet haters, the issues with the original cut of Video Games, Glasgow, Twitter and Ireland. (Lana was planning on stopping by the Founders conference here last week, through some familial involvment with the event). We got photos, she thanked us for coming and signed my Una-pilfered setlist. Talented, gorgeous AND incredibly friendly.
A mere 3 hours later and we’re all freezing our arses off on the airport lounge couches, sleeping while waiting for our flight. Completely worth it.
If you get a chance to see Lana Del Rey on this tour before she completely explodes and is playing huge less-intimate venues I urge you to do it now. You will not be disappointed!
For more photos from the gig etc see @seanear1ey