LOS ANGELES, CA-  There’s nothing I love in the world of music than watching an artist grow into their own, kick-ass, and take names. Poppy is one artist whose continuous creative metamorphosis makes me appreciate them more and more with each album cycle.

In the fall of 2021, Poppy released her fourth studio album Flux. After her third studio album, I Disagreean album which garnered Poppy a Grammy nomination for Best Metal Performance nomination- I kind of expect more of the same. Instead, Poppy switched things up yet again and introduced her fans to a legit rock and roll album. She still summons the metal screams of I Disagree, but the Flux definitely leans more melodic and leans more grunge/punk than metal.

While fans of I Disagree may be a little apprehensive of Flux, fans of Poppy will love her even more. It’s the combination of her youthful vocals, power-pop/punk sensibilities, and unmatchable rage which makes Poppy’s music, generally speaking, so damn unique and enjoyable. Perhaps my favorite track from I Disagree is the shoegazy “As Strange As It Seems”. With the slight reverb floating her emotive vocals over the hazy guitar chords, I could honestly listen to a whole album of that particular Poppy sonic is she ever decides to drop an entire album containing that vibe.

The last time I saw Poppy perform was back in 2018 when she was still in her electronic-pop persona, where she was backed by tracks as opposed to a band. I had desperately wanted to catch her on her tour in support of Flux, but wasn’t able to. I was certainly not going to miss her on her “Never Find My Place Tour”- the name of a track on her album which properly describes the sonic divergence of her record- in support of I Disagree.

Polartropica at The Novo 5/25/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
CLICK THE PHOTO For More Polartropica at The Novo

Opening up for Poppy was the Los Angeles-based act Polartropica. It had been a while since I caught this band fronted, and founded, by Cherise Wu, but having followed her since 2018, I knew what to expect and I knew that she would be bringing some serious joy to the stage. Little did I know that she’d be bringing some furry action to the stage as well.

Known for bringing bright colors and hyper-creative visuals to her live performance, Cherise stepped onto the stage wearing an oversized rabbit mask. I’ve heard that Cherise has a pet rabbit, and perhaps this was an ode to a thing she loves… but it did kinda leave me scratching my head a bit… and seemed a bit cumbersome for Cherise to manage. The bunny helmet notwithstanding, Polartropica gave a fun performance that they would do all over again the following night in San Diego for Poppy’s final show on this tour.

Since performing for Poppy, Polartropica has been extremely busy. Releasing new content (their music video for “Terminator”), and performing not only for Venice Pride but also on the LA Pride Hollywood Mainstage on June 12th, replete with backup dancers, confetti, and more. It’s such a good feeling to see independent artists get their time to shine, and I hope that Polatropica can ride that momentum out for the rest of the year.

Poppy at The Novo 5/25/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Poppy at The Novo 5/25/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.

Poppy has always seemed to have a flair for the mysterious and enigmatic. So was fitting there was a large, hovering disc with hypnotic black and white spirals that spun throughout her performance. If fans weren’t hypnotized by Poppy’s performance, they were probably entranced by the mechanized stage effect.

Over the course of her performance, she sang 18 songs, which mostly covered music from  I Disagree andFlux. It wasn’t too surprising that Poppy excluded music from her first two albums, Poppy.Computer and Am I a Girl?, however, she didn’t perform “X” towards the start of her set, which song happens to be the last song off of Am I a Girl? That that a symbolic gesture… kind of like a “out with old, in the with the new” kind of thing? Knowing Poppy, I wouldn’t discredit that notion.

The one song that was not from her repertoire was a killer cover of “All The Things She Said.” I thought it was a pretty faithful cover of t.A.T.u’s chart-topping song, but Poppy performed it with the kind of confidence that made it feel like the song was meant for her to sing.

Remembering the first time I ever saw Poppy perform, she performed without a band and sang to tracks. Not only was this tour fueled by a group of extraordinarily talented rockers backing her (Ted Gowans, Matt McJunkins, Rick Tillo, and Ralph Alexander… FYI, had we been able to post full photo galleries of this performance, I would love to share photos of some these guys shredding away), but Poppy demonstrated her versatility by playing instruments (synth and guitar) with the band as well. Talk about learning something new about Poppy.

While Poppy didn’t address the crowd too often, when she did she did so in her ever-so-soft-spoken talking voice. And whenever she addressed the crowd, she was always able to elicit the most vocal response to her soft-spoken call from the crowd. It was in these interactions that you could really feel how much love fans in the room had for Poppy. They loved this version of Poppy. They loved the I Disagree version of Poppy. I’m willing to bet that they also loved the Poppy.Computer and Am I a Girl? versions of Poppy. And I’m willing to stake my reputation that these fans will love whatever version of herself she decides to give them next.

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Poppy at The Novo 5/25/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.
Poppy at The Novo 5/25/22. Photo by Derrick K. Lee, Esq. (@Methodman13) for www.BlurredCulture.com.