Maggie Rogers at the Wang Theater
October 15, 2019 | By Audrey Wang
Maggie Rogers electrified the Wang Theater on Oct. 5 with her compelling, melodic voice accompanied by booming synths. An NYU grad who was catapulted to fame after producing her hit song Alaska — which caused Pharell to shed tears — Rogers has been dominating the charts and selling out concert venues ever since.
Rogers brought both Planned Parenthood and HeadCount, an organization that promotes voter registration, on the road with her. Before even entering the concert hall, attendees were able to register to vote and sign petitions for both organizations. During the concert, Rogers said that these sexual health and voter registration are two very important issues to her, statin, “If you don’t understand why, you should leave.” Using her platform and influence for good, this 25-year-old is well aware of what she should do with her newfound voice.
Photo Courtesy of Olivia Bee
The opener was Lorely Rodriguez, a dreamy singer-songwriter better known by her stage name, Empress Of. Rodriguez is a Berklee College of Music alum, and she amplified the energy within the already crammed audience. Both she and her drummer wore beautiful homemade dresses made by Rodriguez’s mother, which she proudly stated before singing a few songs in Spanish. Rodriguez performed a few tracks from her bilingual album US, and set the lively scene for the night.
The main set began with a big white sheet draped on the stage, leaving only the silhouette of Rogers visible. Starting off with cricket sounds, the stage’s lighting intensified as shadows of her and her band members were revealed. Singing Color Song, which is composed of nature sounds paired with Rogers’ mesmerizing voice, she crooned out the last note, and the cricket sounds faded into heavy drums. The white tapestry dropped, and she belted out the very first note of Fallingwater as the audience cheered.
Rogers has a raw and powerful voice, reminiscent of Florence Welch. Taking no survivors, she hit high notes while leaping and bounding across the stage — without ever stopping to catch her breath. To add to her phenomenal lyrics and voice, Rogers danced behind an entrancing light show, which moved with the music just as she did.
She relied on synths and instrumentals for interludes between songs and as background for her various monologues, in which she brought the audience into her heart. Between songs, she described her time in Boston at a Berklee summer music program, her love for her friends, and at one point, she even called out a man in the front row for texting during the concert. She gave an especially beautiful monologue about holding on to loved ones and said to “enjoy the people that you’re with tonight,” which flowed effortlessly into her song Dog Years, a track from her early EP Now That The Light Is Fading.
Though she may not have many songs, every single track she performed contained slight variations to the studio version. In person, she hits higher notes, she strikes different chords, and she creates a show that can’t be experienced anywhere else. Rogers even sang a new song and said she “had no idea when it would be coming out” but donned an acoustic guitar and played it anyway.
Riding the high of her new song, the audience was enthralled as Rogers started to harmonize with her own voice on a looper pedal, which transitioned to a magnetizing prelude for her hit song Light On. The popular song ended the set in a blazing glory, leaving the audience wondering if she was going to sing Alaska at all, the song that got her where she is today. Answering the crowd’s prayers, she came back on stage to sing Alaska, with a twist. “This is how it sounded when I wrote it,” Rogers said, standing alone under the stage’s spotlight with her acoustic guitar. Heartfelt and tender, Rogers ended the night with a reminder of who she is — a girl who loves music and wants to share it with the world amid her sold-out shows and skyrocket to fame.