(Photo credit: Harry Scull Jr. / The Buffalo News)
(This was originally published in The Buffalo News on 6/22/18: https://buffalonews.com/2018/06/22/dua-lipa-why-dont-we-get-the-kids-dancing-at-kiss-the-summer-hello/)
The wholesome, family-friendly Kiss the Summer Hello multi-band concert at Canalside brimmed with young rhythmical talent on stage and off, with every kid seemingly perfecting the latest dance craze “flossing.”
The performance order of the seven musical acts didn’t dictate the talent. The American pop quintet In Real Life was early on the ticket, but played a passionate, electric set. The band, brought together as final contestants on the television show “Boy Band,” opened with a head-turning, fun cover of Bruno Mars’s “Finesse.” The Backstreet Boys-esque group switched to originals, crooning innocent love songs like “Eyes Closed” that were backed by hip-hop beats and sweet lyrics that struck a chord with the audience of adoring young fans.
Headliner Why Don’t We, a poppy boy band, made the most dramatic entrance inside giant shadow boxes. The five silhouetted figures danced synchronized choreography and sang their hip-hop and dubstep infused songs including the popular “Trust Fund Baby.”
Alessia Cara wants her fans to be comfortable with themselves, and confident. If Cara doesn’t stress that enough in songs like “Scars to Your Beautiful” and “Growing Pains,” she did on stage with multiple uplifting messages to “celebrate individuality.” Wearing a Led Zeppelin tee under an oversized flannel shirt, Cara belted out pop ballads in her creamy voice with lyrics about growing up and handling youth’s emotional landscape. Cara opened with the song that launched her into the spotlight, “Here.”
Hitting the stage in an eye-catching, black, sequin wrap dress, English singer/songwriter Dua Lipa exuded confidence and commanded the audience’s attention. Lipa, who has had success with multiple hit singles like “IDGAF” and “New Rules” since the debut of her first album a year ago, appeared to not break a sweat as she danced around stage. Her pop songs sound distinct, one could easily tell a Dua Lipa tune from a different top hit on the radio. With her deep voice, catchy beats and empowering lyrics, Lipa, the second to last act, was the highlight of the night.