Vérité (photo: Robert Alleyne)
Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Kelsey Byrne, better known as Vérité, stopped off in San Francisco for a rare Monday night edition of Aaron Axelsen’s Popscene. The show was one of two headline shows on the West Coast following a US tour with indie-pop band Betty Who.
Vocally, something is captivating about Vérité as she sings; her vocals just seem to catch you. She has this casual intensity about her which allows her music to executed with an impressive precision while appearing somewhat nonchalant. Her stage presence is understated, yet her songs feel almost anthemic in delivery. “Gesture,” and its rally cry of a chorus, “I’m not one to make love / but I’m down to give a fuck,” was gleefully shouted back by the sold out audience. Her performance of “Underdressed” had the masses slow rolling from the front to the back of the Fell Street venue. The set had its surprises as Vérité dug deep into her ever growing catalog to perform her 2014 song “Weekend” from her debut EP, Echo.
Towards the end of the set, Vérité mentioned how the show felt “authentic.” While she acknowledged it might not have been the best word choice to describe her feelings, I think it was spot-on. The show felt genuine, in both the way she performed her songs, without the need to fancy showmanship, and also in the way the crowd reacted, some watching in awe, while others danced the night away.
Bay Area-based SUMif opened the night with a set of high-octane, frolicking, pop music. Monday night was her second Popscene show in five months and her trademark energy was on full display as she danced, sung and ‘played sax’ across every inch of the stage. She also treated the San Francisco crowd to a new, as-yet-unnamed song. It picks up where “Lay Down” left off, with an infectious, pulsating bass and by the end of the set, it looked as if her playful performance had won her more than a few new fans.
During the gig, Vérité casually announced she would be going on a headline tour of her own later this year in 2017. Announced on Tuesday (5/02), The Somewhere In Between tour starts in August and reaches San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall on September 5.