Last in Australia in 2022 when he concluded his album tour for Gemini Rights, chameleonic US singer-songwriter Steve Lacy is back in the country for Laneway 2024. He chose two intimate 360° dates at Sydney Opera House for his Laneway Sideshows; given Lacy’s considerable popularity, the smaller-scale nature of these shows made it feel even more special.
On the first night, as the lights dimmed, wild screaming cascaded from all angles. Lacy’s three-piece band entered wearing white boiler suits and bold boots – it felt like gladiators arriving.
Then it was Lacy’s turn to emerge, and the noise grew louder.
Jumping into “Static”, the audience hesitantly started dancing in their seats. “It’s okay, you can stand up,” Lacy comfortingly told everyone. Soon everyone was up, following the command like that of a master and loyal follower.
Lacy’s sheer joy at being back in Australia, particularly in one of its most iconic venues, was immediately apparent. He furthered it was “super iconic” to be playing at the Sydney Opera House by himself, having played there in 2018 with his R&B band, The Internet.
To the delight of fans, Lacy then alluded to the fact that new music was not too far away. He said that this current run of shows was to keep him busy between albums, and comically added for “the money, I guess.”
After whipping up the audience with songs like “N Side”, “Mercury”, and “Give You the World”, wielding his guitar like a lightsaber in a battle, Lacy then decided it was time to slow things down. He wanted to spend some intimate time with the crowd, and such is Lacy’s flirty nature, one couldn’t help but melt.
Given the 360° seating plan, the pressure was on for Lacy to make every audience member feel seen, but he clearly put in the extra effort to do so. As an artist who has previously been criticised for his behaviour towards fans, Lacy could not have been more caring. He even took song requests from the audience, although he did call one request “basic” before choosing to play someone else’s shout, the sexy “C U Girl”.
The entire show had a breezy spontaneity to it which made you feel like Lacy was always keeping the audience on their toes. His stage interaction never felt like that of tired milquetoast global stars, and he was unafraid to gently rib or flirt with a fan, coming across as unabashedly himself.
Lacy brought the show home with audience (and TikTok) favourite, “Bad Habit”, with the lyrics painted across every member of the audiences’ lips: “I wish I knew / I wish I knew you wanted me.”
The final song of the night was “Dark Red”, a cool, crisp guitar-heavy number about a girl giving up on you. As Lacy left the stage afterwards, he briefly exposed his chest to roars of approval, a final flirt from one of music’s cheekiest stars.