TiLLie @ Shelter in Detroit, MI
Review & photography by Daaron Donohue
It’s hard to pinpoint an exact sound pop music has, especially today as styles and preferences change by the minute, not only for consumers but artists alike. In the case of Atlanta native TiLLie’s new “Loud Mouth EP,” no statement could be more accurate. Mixing elements of anti-pop hiding under electric bass & synth chords, the project catches us up on four years of absence aside from five singles over that span. With both middle fingers raised, this project is a journey of self-discovery coming from real life experience TiLLie’s attentiveness to everything going on around her. In a live setting, that realization is surprisingly proven further than most artists do on full-length projects.
I didn’t know what to expect coming into this show. I’d heard the new EP and had a good grip on understanding the sound, but didn’t know how much of the pissed off, a carefree tone that the EP had could be translated to a live show. Seeing only a drum set didn’t help me understand either. As the lights dimmed and the crowd cheered I thought my ears were failing me as the Law & Order theme played. At this point, I was completely lost. This ended up playing a significant role in the theme of the show that I found very clever that we will revisit later. Dressed in neon green, she took the stage. Guitar in hand, the energetic breakup single “Save Yourself,” lit up the entire room. The first track off of the EP “Faith,” followed as a shocking cover of “Girls Just wanna have fun,” came after that. This stuck out to me as a stand-out moment in the show as she chose to cover the song in the style of Robert Hazard, who wrote and first released the song, later being famously covered by Cyndi Lauper. Occasionally at shows, there tends to be a disconnect between the artist and the audience at times. TiLLie has mastered the art if connecting with an audience and capturing an intimate setting perfectly. With most songs coming with a short story explaining who or what it’s about, each track took on a whole new meaning. Everything ran smoother, and in turn, the audience becomes more engaged. Even the brief moment where her guitar string broke, and she had to run backstage and grab a new guitar felt like it was supposed to happen. Stage presence is very difficult to teach, and if you’re born with it, you’re extremely lucky. TiLLie is one of the lucky ones.
All nine songs that were performed came from a place of honest self-discovery. Every experience that TiLLie goes through is eligible to be written about, and that is why she was able to take such a long break between projects and still have such a good reception. I got home that night and really pondered what the deal was with the Law & Order theme at the beginning. Law & Order is a crime show that usually deals with murders. This was TiLLies first release in four years. Her last release, “Lost Boy,” was a six-track tale of a scorned lover. Sounding much more bubbly and traditionally more “pop” than her latest release the L&O theme represented the death of the older more innocent and venerable girl that debuted in 2015 and the performance was the birth of the carefree, in your face TiLLie we got in 2019. Her progression as not only an artist but as a person is ever present in her music and it’s something that will continue to evolve as time goes on.
1. Save Yourself
3. Girls Just Want to Have Fun (Robert Hazard Cover)
4. Mood Swings
5. Hungover on a Feeling
6. Whole Wide World
7. Pink & Blue
8. Good Song
9. Loud Mouth