Posted on April 29, 2023
On the evening of March 26th, the Regency Ballroom in San Francisco was filled with a crowd adorned in vintage leather jackets, white flowy skirts, and flowers in hair, eagerly waiting for night two of Weyes Blood’s "In Holy Flux" Tour. Weyes Blood (pronounced “wize blood”) is the stage name of Natalie Mering, a California born artist whose musical style has been labeled as psychedelic folk, chamber pop, and soft rock.
As the audience patiently waited, electro pop artist Vagabon opened with a dreamy set that set the scene for Weyes Blood’s arrival. I admired the stage that was dressed with large candelabras, deep blue lighting, and a sailor cartoon that evoked nostalgic 1950s drive-in movie ads. The ambiance of the venue was electric, as the crowd settled in for a night of enchanting music and soulful performance.
Weyes Blood gracefully made her way to the stage donning a flowing white dress and cape, instantly captivating the crowd. She began her set with the poignant track “It's Not Just Me, It's Everybody” from her 2022 album And in the Darkness, Hearts Aglow, immediately showcasing her powerful vocals and raw, confessional lyrics. As the show progressed, I realized that Weyes Blood's performance was not only about her enchanting vocals but also her mesmerizing stage presence. She danced and moved around the stage with ease, her flowing dress and cape following her every move. With arms outstretched, she effortlessly commanded the attention of the crowd, inviting them to immerse themselves fully in the emotive journey that she had prepared for them.
I have always admired the similarities between the ancient practice of gathering in tribes for religious rituals and modern-day music concerts. Natalie Mering was raised in a religious household, and although she and her siblings have discovered their own beliefs, the influence of religion is still evident in her music. For many people, live music is the closest they get to a religious experience or ritual, and Mering hopes to keep that channel alive. It is evident that Mering sees music as a transcendent vehicle that can take you to a more sacred space, not in a dogmatic Christian sense, but in the sense of connecting with something greater than oneself. The Weyes Blood concert was a powerful example of how music can bring people together in a communal experience that transcends the individual.
A moment I looked forward to the most was hearing the closing lyric from “A Lot’s Gonna Change” in which she sings, "Let me change my words / Show me where it hurts", capturing the essence of empathy and vulnerability. The entire audience joined in unison, creating a collective moment that was unforgettable. During her performance of “Andromeda,” one of her most beloved songs, Natalie Mering transported the crowd to a realm of wistful introspection. “Andromeda” explores the vastness of space and the isolation that comes with it; it felt surreal to think about these concepts while being packed into a room full of strangers.
Natalie Mering can be seen on the cover of her newest album And In the Darkness, Hearts Aglow adopting a pose of divine contemplation, her chest glowing with a pinkish, otherworldly ball of light. The glow emanating from her chest has become emblematic of her latest tour and album. During the song “Twin Flame,” Mering covers herself with her cape and dramatically reveals a glowing heart on her chest, creating a breathtaking moment that brought real life meaning to her album title. During the performance of "Movies," the combination of blue lights and underwater projections perfectly captured the essence of the song, which felt like it was made underwater. The high-energy outro had Mering running around the stage and throwing white flowers into the audience. Fans also gave her DVDs of movies, including "Paris, Texas," "Into the Woods," and "Bee Movie," which she admired and sorted through thereafter. To close out her set, Mering ended with "Hearts Aglow," and the stage was bathed in a beautiful pinkish-purple haze.
For the encore, Mering and her band returned to the stage and paid tribute to the city by singing a cover of Scott McKenzie's iconic song, "San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)." The final song of the night was “Picture Me Better,” an emotionally charged song which featured Mering alone on stage, before bowing to the audience and walking off, leaving a lasting impact on the crowd.
As I walked out of the Regency Ballroom and into the cool San Francisco night air, I couldn't help but feel a sense of transformation. Weyes Blood's "In Holy Flux" Tour had left an indelible impression on me, and it was clear from the faces of the people around me that they felt the same. I drove home shuffling through her discography and feeling eager to see what creative brilliance Weyes Blood will bring next.