Photo: Maggie Rogers on stage at the Anthem theatre on October 7. Credit: Riley Burke
Maggie Rogers walked out to a sold-out crowd at the Anthem theater in DC, “It feels good to be home!” she shouted as she began her two-hour set.
I first heard Rogers’ music when she performed on SNL late last year. I was vaguely interested, so of course, I ended up spending hours down a rabbit hole on Youtube quickly after. She gained initial recognition after a video went viral in which musician and producer Pharell listens to her song “Alaska” during an NYU master class on music production he taught. He appears visibly moved by the song and is clearly impressed by the singer/songwriter.
Rogers then broke into the mainstream after releasing “Alaska” shortly after coupled with an eventual EP titled Now That the Light is Fading in 2017. Her first record, Falling Water was released earlier this year.
After this initial rabbit-hole and adding a few of her songs to a few Spotify playlists, I essentially forgot about her, apart from the occasional appearance she made on shuffle.
That changed when my roommate had an extra ticket to her October 7 concert in DC. I went in not knowing what to expect. I knew I loved her music but had no idea what kind of performer she would be. Her unique fusion of electro-pop and alternative folk is what had set her apart for Pharell and what has propelled her career forward, but it made me a bit speculative. How would that fusion translate to live music?
The answer: really friggen well.
Her live show played with light, sound, texture, and space. Every moment felt deliberate. From the top of the show where she and the rest of her band are positioned behind a silk sheet so she can only be viewed in silhouette, to the classical piano solo from her keyboardist, to the light show that played with silhouette, backlighting, and color. If I wasn’t already sold on Maggie Rogers, I definitely am now.
Moreover, her vocals are even better live than on her record. She has an incredible sound that can induce goosebumps easily. She was an all-around incredible performer. Dancing effortlessly and joyfully in an all-white halter jumpsuit throughout her time one stage, spending time advocating for voter registration and reproductive rights. It all felt genuine and purposeful. You could tell she cared.
She finished the show discussing that the concert felt like a return home for her. She is a native of east Maryland and used to be driven to concerts in DC as a child. Performing at a venue next to the waterfront felt “inspiring” to her, as the body of water is the one that runs past her childhood home in Maryland.
She finished the concert with an acoustic version of “Alaska,” the song that started it all for her, a symbolic return home during her real one.
As we made our way out of the confetti littered venue, it was clear to me that she is beyond worth listening to. And if you haven’t started yet, literally what are you doing stop reading this and go!