MisterWives’ streamed performance on Saturday was an embodiment of what girl power in the music industry is all about: luminescent vocals and a rebel grandeur neatly wrapped up in the pizzazz of impressive costumes. Frontwoman Mandy Lee and her bandmates did it all in the appropriately titled “SUPERBLOOM: The Live Dream.” Rather than a livestream performance, the show was more like a well-edited indie film.
Beginning with “the end” (the show followed the track list of new album Superbloom), Lee jumped out of bed and stepped onto a stage with overstated energy, singing over Etienne Bowler’s tumultuous kick-drums and Jesse Blum’s vibrant synths. Although MisterWives haven’t seen a concert hall since before the pandemic, the band was by no means out of practice and triumphed through a glistening set with mostly unaffected stage presence.
What followed was a live video depiction of a fistful of danceable indie-pop tracks laced with melancholic lyricism and clean guitar playing; Lee exuding the same infectious vibes and thrashing dance moves as her labelmates Paramore and Twenty One Pilots. The performance itself (which was filmed earlier) was a narrative cleverly organized by theme and shaped by poetic verses, numerous costume changes and set artistry courtesy of producer Matty Vogel.
Mandy Lee’s ethereal vocals were especially showcased on “valentine’s day,” her dancing taking a backseat to a doppelganger; a dancer clad in a near-identical white organza dress, performing a choreographed contemporary routine in synchrony to the ballad. The singer exuded a queen of sadness energy so haunting it would have given Lana Del Rey a run for her money. Her soul was laid bare on the stage as she sang, “Nobody walks away the way you do” in front of a giant, spotlit red heart. The song’s tragic lyrics hit a little harder upon realizing that the song captured her recent romantic split from ex-husband and MisterWives drummer, Bowler.
What started as a light, fun-filled performance soon took a trip to the dark side with the angsty modern rock song “over the rainbow.” The full-moon backdrop visuals were brilliantly paired with plenty of chugging power chords by guitarist Marc Campbell and enough screaming vocals from Lee to warrant the head-banging that followed post-curtain drop from all five members of the band. Flashing strobe lights danced in succession with the punchy vocals and bouncy piano chords of “rock bottom,” with the song’s lively lyrics, “I fall just to get back up,” becoming the perfect antidote for the year from hell.
We were then dropped into the crux of the third chapter of their performance with “decide to be happy,” where funk and soul revivalism was in full force. Pulling out all the stops on the instrumentation, wah-wah guitar riffs, trumpet and saxophone came together in delicious fusion alongside Lee’s soulful vocals. Harking back to the early days where MisterWives were formed out of the need for an ’80s cover band, next track “love me true” provided the addictive synth-pop and sassy shouting call-and-response that grew into a hip-swinging, feet-shuffling on-stage dance party.
The party vibes saw the show right through to its conquering end. A colorful rendition of title track “SUPERBLOOM” wrapped up the hour-long set and began with an endearing video-chat compilation of the band’s fans saying “congratulations.” Next, Lee lied among a bed of red and yellow flowers before jumping up and singing among the whole cast on stage. If you’d never witnessed Lee’s vocals in person, you might have doubted, at times, that she still had so much gas in the tank at this point. But the performance and musical cinematography was an undeniable feat in itself.
Follow writer Gabriella Ferlita at Twitter.com/Gabriellaf_17.