Forty minutes after Dark Waves wrapped, New Zealander Brooke Fraser took the stage. She wore a studded leather jacket baring the title of her fourth and latest studio album, Brutal Romantic, up and down its sleeves. To pair, jeans and a cast on her left ankle—a story that is, as she put it, “not as rock and roll” as she’d like it to be. Amidst a strobe light show, the doe-eyed musician opened with Psychosocial, Brutal Romantic’s first track with a clear synth-pop sound, proving to the audience that her delicate acoustic melodies are a thing of the past.
Throughout Fraser’s hour-or-so-long set, she streamed her vocals through different frequencies to recreate her new tracks “Kings & Queens,” “Magical Machine,” and more. The deeper, harsher sounds complement the darker, more complex themes of her new album. But when the music stops, Fraser loses herself in a spiral of conversation with the crowd. And nothing like banter about a four-hour hospital stint for a broken foot, after trying to eat yogurt and hold a guitar simultaneously, will bring a star farther down to earth. Despite the artist reinventing herself and her sound, fans are reminded that she’s still the piano-playing songstress you want to sip flat whites with and coax into being your best girlfriend.
Fraser’s adoption of an electronic sound proves she has the creative chops to evolve with the industry, but whether or not her fans from her early days will evolve with her has yet to be determined.