Lennon Stella at Metro [REVIEW]
Review by: Bailey Johnk
Photos by: Roman Sobus
On March 28th, 2019, Lennon Stella performed at the Metro in Chicago with opening act, Valley, an up and coming indie rock band. Chicago was the eighth stop on her first solo tour titled the Love, me Tour. Love, me is also the name of her first EP released on November 16th, 2018.
Stella was born in Ontario Canada in 1999. Her sister and musical partner for many years, Maisy, was born just four years after. Lennon started singing at age five and later, learned to play guitar, ukulele and piano. It’s safe to say the two girls got their natural musical talent from their parents, Brad and MaryLynne, who together created the country duo, The Stellas. Lennon & Maisy started a YouTube channel to post musical covers in 2010, but they achieved true success when their cover of “Call Your Girlfiend” by Robyn went viral, gaining the attention of Good Morning America. As of 2019, that same cover currently has over 30 million views. Around the same time as it went viral, television company ABC was in the process of creating the show, Nashville, and needed two young girls to play Rayna James’ (played by Connie Britton) children. Lennon & Maisy’s cover of “Call Your Girlfriend” caught their attention and the two girls both got casted. Nashville premiered in October of 2012 and averaged about 7 million viewers in their first four seasons. The two girls performed many songs on the show including a cover of “Ho Hey” by The Lumineers which became the #1 most added song from the show and it also got to the top of the Top 40 Billboard Songs chart. Lennon’s big break on Nashville was ultimately what established her musical career. Since then she has performed at the Grand Ole Opry, the CMA awards, and the White House, cowrote a children’s book, and came out with an exclusive furniture collection. The final episode of Nashville aired on July 26th, 2018, but fortunately, that very same year, Lennon signed a deal with Columbia Records.
While she still resides in Nashville, the country music capital of the US, her album Love, me is anything but country. Love, me is actually a five track indie pop album all about love and heartbreak, cowritten by Stella herself. The songs on this album, “Bad”, “Breakaway”, “Feelings”, “La Di Da”, and “Fortress”, all consist of laid back electronic beats and sultry vocals. All the songs are very chill. Stella seems to going for a certain vibe with the album. The songs aren’t happy, upbeat radio friendly pop songs, but they’re still danceable and just as catchy. Though all of the lyrics talk of manipulation, emotional abuse, and betrayal, the audience at the Metro hardly felt their hearts breaking. No, not at all. They danced. They sang. They screamed. Passionate fans surround me in the hundreds. Hands in the air, phones taking videos, friends holding each other and swaying to the rhythms. The songs felt like a catharsis for the crowd and it was hard not to be happy, no matter how sweaty and tired you were.
The stage at the Metro is framed with antique trim, old but intricate stone work that gives the venue a bit unspoken history. Stella’s tour, visually, juxtaposes this very feeling. She used a variety of flashing lights to color the crowd. Yellows, reds, whites, greens. She even had vertical light bars lining the back of the stage; colors would slide up and down the bars, creating a very cool visual effect. In the back of the stage, at the top center, she provided a big neon sign that reads “LENNON STELLA love, me” in white and purple. All of these components make for a very modern show, held by a building much more vintage. They clashed, but in the best of ways.
What I did notice is that Lennon’s stage presence was about as laid back as the music she was playing. She mostly walked around and very lightly swayed during the show. She would occasionally glance at the audience to flash a quick smile or wave at somebody but most of the time, she was stuck in a zone. In the very few times she spoke to the audience, it was to say “thank you”, “I love you”, and to introduce the band members. The lack of talking actually made the set list feel a bit rushed. I was waiting for a songwriting anecdote, a joke, or even some advice to her young female fans, but it never really came. I could visibly see that she was in her head, utterly focused on performing up to par. It’s such a helpful skill to have, but unfortunately that great focus led to a little lack of energy on her part. I would never dare ask she do a choreographed routine. That’s just not Lennon. But I think she could have had a little more fun. She could have let loose a little. The best part about a concert, for me, is seeing the pure passion on the artist’s face, when you can really tell they love what they do. Of course, Lennon loves her music and her fans, but I didn’t physically see that as much as I wished to. All of these observations, of course, could be explained by one thing. This is her first solo tour ever. She’s still getting used to performing on stages like this every night. She’s still learning how to interact with her audience in the best way possible. She is only 20 years old and still has so much time to grow as an artist and performer. At the end of the day, the music was fantastic and she was fantastic.
Stella was as cool as a cucumber singing into that microphone. She was collected and very confident. She truly owned the stage. You couldn’t take your eyes off of her. She strolled onto the scene wearing a black blazer over a black bralette, and black high waisted satin pants, reminiscent of the pair Sandy from Grease wore during “You’re The One That I Want”. She looked sophisticated, but totally bad ass at the same time. Her voice was absolutely angelic. She glided through her notes, up and down, hitting her riffs perfectly. Her pitch was absolutely on point. Her voice was so smooth, yet so raspy. All of the live performances were a near perfect match their studio recordings. It truly stunned me, the sheer amount of talent the girl had. It’s clear that this kind of talent was not taught to her; it’s something she was born with. This ability to completely nail a song on the head is so natural to her, you can’t help but be jealous.
She played not only songs from the Love, me EP, but a lot of unreleased music, three outside singles, and two covers. My favorite performances of the night were her song “Bad”, “Breakaway”, “Fortress”, “Black Light”, “Bitch”, “Goodnight”, and “La Di Da”. Whether it was her vocals, the audience energy, or my own biased love for the songs, they all stood out in their own way. I also adored her acoustic version of the song “Polaroid”, a collaboration she did with Liam Payne and Jonas Blue last year. I found that behind a guitar or piano she seemed the most raw, the most in the moment. She was magnetic when she was strumming those strings
or stroking those keys.
There’s no denying that Lennon Stella’s Love, me Tour is a can’t miss performance. She’s one of few pop singers in 2019 who show unbelievable talent in and out of the studio. No one on the radio these days has a voice quite as irresistible as Stella. You have to see it to believe it.
Biography: Ontario-born and Nashville-based singer, songwriter, actress, and multi-instrumentalist Lennon Stella is one of pop’s most powerful and poignant new forces.
Lennon rose to popularity as a star in the ABC/CMT smash Nashville as Maddie Conrad for six years. In 2018, she kickstarted her solo career with the release of her EP Love, me. It bowed in the Top 5 of the Billboard Heatseekers Albums Chart as the single “La Di Da” amassed more than 96 million Spotify streams and counting. Lennon was recently nominated for two JUNO Awards for “Single of the Year” and “Breakthrough Artist of the Year,” and will also be performing at the show this March.
She also lent her voice to Jonas Blue’s “Polaroid” with Liam Payne, which clocked 216 million total streams and counting and “Takeaway” by The Chainsmokers and Illenium, which exploded as a phenomenon with 239 million Spotify streams. Her current single, “Kissing Other People” has been streamed over 16 million times on Spotify alone, and occupied real estate on coveted playlists such as Today’s Hits, Pop Rising, A-List Pop, and more.
After selling out dates on her first North American headline tour, Lennon has shared the stage with Anne-Marie, The Chainsmokers and 5SOS. She is currently on a headlining tour throughout Europe and UK.
Streamed nearly half-a-billion times within a year and pegged among Refinery29’s “Young Celebrities to Watch” and Teen Vogue’s “16 Musicians You Need to Be Listening to,” Lennon is set to release her forthcoming debut album called Three. Two. One. for RECORDS LLC. / Columbia Records this year.
APR 1, 2019 – OGDEN THEATRE – DENVER, CO
APR 3, 2019 – THE FONDA THEATRE – LOS ANGELES, CA
APR 4, 2019 – THE FONDA THEATRE – LOS ANGELES, CA
APR 5, 2019 – AUGUST HALL – SAN FRANCISCO, CA
APR 7, 2019 – WONDER BALLROOM – PORTLAND, OR
APR 8, 2019 – NEPTUNE THEATRE – SEATTLE, WA
APR 10, 2019 – VOGUE THEATRE – VANCOUVER, BC
APR 11, 2019 – VOGUE THEATRE – VANCOUVER, BC
MAY 2, 2019 – X-TRA – ZÜRICH, ZH – SOLD OUT
MAY 3, 2019 – TONHALLE – MUNICH, GERMANY
MAY 4, 2019 – GASOMETER – VIENNA, AUSTRIA
MAY 6, 2019 – TEMPODROM – BERLIN, GERMANY
MAY 8, 2019 – PALLADIUM – COLOGNE, GERMANY
MAY 9, 2019 – LUXEXPO – LUXEMBOURG CITY, LUXEMBOURG DISTRICT
MAY 11, 2019 – GROSSE FREIHEIT – HAMBURG, GERMANY – SOLD OUT
MAY 13, 2019 – AMAGER BIO – COPENHAGEN, DENMARK
MAY 15, 2019 – LOTTO AREN – AANTWERP, BELGIUM – SOLD OUT
MAY 16, 2019 – AFAS LIVE – AMSTERDAM, NORTH HOLLAND – SOLD OUT
MAY 18, 2019 – LE BATACLAN – PARIS, FRANCE
MAY 21, 2019 – O2 ACADEMY BOURNEMOUTH – BOURNEMOUTH, UK – SOLD OUT
MAY 23, 2019 – CLIFFS PAVILION – SOUTHEND-ON-SEA, ENGLAND – SOLD OUT
MAY 24, 2019 – MOTORPOINT ARENA – CARDIFF, WALES – SOLD OUT
MAY 25, 2019 – DE MONTFORT HALLLEICESTER, ENGLAND – SOLD OUT
MAY 27, 2019 – O2 ACADEMY LEEDSLEEDS, UK – SOLD OUT
MAY 28, 2019 – O2 ACADEMY SHEFFIELDSHEFFIELD, UK – SOLD OUT
MAY 29, 2019 – USHER HALLEDINBURGH, SCOTLAND – SOLD OUT
MAY 31, 2019 – WATERFRONTBELFAST, NORTHERN IRELAND – SOLD OUT
JUN 1, 2019 – 3ARENADUBLIN, IRELAND – SOLD OUT
JUN 3, 2019 – LIVERPOOL GUILD OF STUDENTSLIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – SOLD OUT
JUN 4, 2019 – O2 ACADEMY NEWCASTLENEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, UK – SOLD OUT
JUN 6, 2019 – THE HEXAGONREADING, ENGLAND – SOLD OUT
JUN 7, 2019 – OASIS CENTRESWINDON, ENGLAND – SOLD OUT
JUN 8, 2019 – CONCERT HALLBRIGHTON, ENGLAND – SOLD OUT
JUN 10, 2019 – UEANORWICH, ENGLAND – SOLD OUT
JUN 12, 2019 – EVENTIM APOLLOLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – SOLD OUT
JUN 13, 2019 – EVENTIM APOLLOLONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
JUL 9, 2019 – OTTAWA BLUESFESTOTTAWA, ON
AUG 1, 2019 – AUG 4, 2019 – LOLLAPALOOZACHICAGO, IL
AUG 3, 2019 – OSHEAGA FESTIVAL 2019MONTREAL, QC
SEP 25, 2019 – US BANK ARENACINCINNATI, OH
SEP 27, 2019 – TD GARDENBOSTON, MA
SEP 28, 2019 – MOHEGAN SUN ARENAUNCASVILLE, CT
SEP 29, 2019 – BRYCE JORDAN CENTER STATE COLLEGE, PA
OCT 3, 2019 – LITTLE CAESARS ARENA DETROIT, MI
OCT 4, 2019 – UNITED CENTER CHICAGO, IL
OCT 5, 2019 – XCEL ENERGY CENTER SAINT PAUL, MN
OCT 8, 2019 – SCOTIABANK ARENATORONTO, ON
OCT 9, 2019 – BELL CENTREMONTREAL, QC
OCT 11, 2019 – PPG PAINTS ARENAPITTSBURGH, PA
OCT 12, 2019 – KEYBANK CENTERBUFFALO, NY
OCT 13, 2019 – SCHOTTENSTEIN CENTERCOLUMBUS, OH
OCT 15, 2019 – CAPITAL ONE ARENAWASHINGTON, D.C.
OCT 17, 2019 – BARCLAYS CENTERBROOKLYN, NY
OCT 20, 2019 – BRIDGESTONE ARENANASHVILLE, TN
OCT 22, 2019 – STATE FARM ARENAATLANTA, GA
OCT 24, 2019 – AMERICAN AIRLINES ARENAMIAMI, FL
OCT 25, 2019 – AMALIE ARENATAMPA, FL
OCT 26, 2019 – AMWAY CENTERORLANDO, FL
OCT 29, 2019 – SMOOTHIE KING CENTERNEW ORLEANS, LA
OCT 31, 2019 – AMERICAN AIRLINES CENTERDALLAS, TX
NOV 1, 2019 – FRANK ERWIN CENTERAUSTIN, TX
NOV 2, 2019 – TOYOTA CENTERHOUSTON, TX
NOV 6, 2019 – KFC! YUM CENTERLOUISVILLE, KY
NOV 7, 2019 – BANKERS LIFE FIELDHOUSEINDIANAPOLIS, IN
NOV 8, 2019 – ENTERPRISE CENTERST. LOUIS, MO
NOV 9, 2019 – ALLIANT ENERGY CENTERMADISON, WI
NOV 12, 2019 – FISERV FORUMMILWAUKEE, WI
NOV 14, 2019 – CHESAPEAKE ENERGY ARENAOKLAHOMA CITY, OK
NOV 15, 2019 – SPRINT CENTERKANSAS CITY, MO
NOV 16, 2019 – INTRUST BANK ARENAWICHITA, KS
NOV 19, 2019 – PEPSI CENTERDENVER, CO
NOV 21, 2019 – VIVINT SMART HOME ARENASALT LAKE CITY, UT
NOV 23, 2019 – TALKING STICK ARENAPHOENIX, AZ
NOV 24, 2019 – VIEJAS ARENASAN DIEGO, CA
NOV 26, 2019 – THE FORUMLOS ANGELES, CA
DEC 1, 2019 – GOLDEN 1 CENTERSACRAMENTO, CA
DEC 3, 2019 – TACOMA DOMETACOMA, WA
DEC 5, 2019 – MODA CENTERPORTLAND, OR
DEC 6, 2019 – PEPSI LIVE AT ROGERS ARENAVANCOUVER, BC
If you’re interested in attending one of her future shows in the US, you can use this link to grab tickets: https://www.lennonstella.com/tour/.
Photos © 2019 by: Roman Sobus
Check out more great live photos here!