Ducking into Santos Party House on Tuesday (July 22) evening in New York’s vibrant TriBeCa neighborhood, the mood was straight-up Giddy Night Out At The Club Circa 1995, from the rainbow-variety lighting to the fog machine to the deep house cuts the DJ was spinning. Granted, the venue is a nightclub, and said fog machine signaled the entrance on stage of the sweetheart of pop’s ’90s house revival scene: Kiesza.
When the Canadian singer stopped by Idolator for a chat back in March, to the eyes and ears of most, she was simply a girl on a small, independent label with a retro-sounding dance track called “Hideaway” that had a soon-to-be-viral video and a back story that involved ballet, the military and a love of all things Michael Jackson.
In just four months, however, “Hideaway” has topped charts across Europe while Kiesza herself has hob-knobbed with Diplo, written music for Rihanna and become the new face of Fendi’s eyewear line. Only one puzzle piece was missing from the diva’s full arrival: her debut show in the United States.
Kieza’s premiere stateside gig was appropriately in New York, the city she now calls home. And while the six-song set was short — to-date, she’s only released an EP, also titled Hideaway — it was packed with, in the flame-haired singer’s own words, “a lot of firsts.”
In case anyone doubted the her love of the ’90s, the night got started with Kiesza and her two female dancers voguing (!) their way through energetic fan favorite “No Enemiesz,” a Eurodance gem that has yet to be officially released.
Kiesza — “No Enemiesz” (live in London, June 2014)
Next up were “Giant In My Heart,” the follow-up single to “Hideaway,” and a stripped-down, ballad version of Haddaway‘s seminal “What Is Love,” which found Kiesza’s small band taking a break as she perched herself at a piano.
The singer introduced her rendition of “Hallelujah” as the first song she ever tackled live. (Adding an old-school hip hop beat to Leonard Cohen? Interesting touch!) Swinging back into dance party mode, Kiesza offered up her very first live performance of “So Deep,” a deceptive number off her EP with a lulling, hypnotic slow-jam intro that eventually breaks down into a pulsating house banger.
This was later followed by “You’ve Got Me Losing My Mind,” a new hip-house track from her upcoming album. “If you’re in this room, you’re the first ever to hear that song,” Kiesza announced.
The hour-long set was peppered with the singer and her pair of dancers bouncing across the stage in unison, shooting bubbles into the audience and, yes, doing the running man to remixed snippets of party favorites like Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock‘s “It Takes Two” and Bell Biv Devoe‘s “Poison.”
And then, finally, Kiesza ripped into an extended version of “Hideway,” a song that sounds infinitely more fantastic in a club setting than when pouring out of the radio or a laptop. Upon the opening synth note and moody bass thrum of the song, drunk girls sprung to life and twirled, gay dudes lost their shit and the crowd packed into Santos Party House witnessed the winding down of an extremely tight set by one of 2014′s great pop standouts.
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.
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