Carly Rae Jepsen w/ Cardiknox and Fairground Saints
Showbox, Seattle, WA

There is unapologetic pop music, and then there is pop music that should never be asked to apologize, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s oeuvre falls firmly in the latter. Taking over The Showbox for a sold out stop in Seattle, Jepsen showed up in the finest form, with a set list covering the vast majority of her critically lauded – if somewhat less commercial – sophomore album Emotion, as well as a solid lineup of past hits.

Backed by her five-piece band, Jepsen kicked off the show with “Run Away With Me,” its catchy hook immediately grabbing the ears of anyone still attempting to resist the joys of Jepsen’s abilities. From her Canadian Idol days, Jepsen has grown immensely and seems to be taking her popularity in stride, all with a sense of humor and wit, apparent throughout her adorable banter between songs. By “Emotion” she’s jumping off stage to the barricade and singing with the crowd. Jepsen’s voice – and what sets her apart from certain other pop stars – is so strong, so clear, so damn good, that she could probably teach the auto-tune a thing or two. And credit to her sound crew, because she sounds flawless.

These are songs that sound like late 80s – early 90s gold, songs so familiar from their successful commercial use, that you don’t even realize they are hers. But these are not cover songs. Jepsen has a stacked catalog of dance floor-ready, sing-along-worthy tracks that have the entire crowd in the palm of her hand. “I Didn’t Just Come Here To Dance” carries a darker, electronic beat, then Jepsen dons a white cape for “Your Type” and its pining, love struck lyrics. She does “Curiosity” accompanied solely by guitarist Tavish Crowe on acoustic, and then the explosion of “Call Me Maybe” backed by “I Really Like You” hits and there’s no sugar-rush left unfed.

Joining Jepsen on this tour were Cardiknox – former Seattleites, by way of NYC, and now LA – with a tight set of their EDM-influenced electronic dance music and fierce attitude. The duo of Thomas Dutton and Lonnie Angle is a powerful one. They are always sharp, enveloping you in infectious beats. Watch out for Portrait, their debut full-length set for release on March 11.

Openers Fairground Saints offered an instantly accessible Americana set, full of three-piece folk harmonies and triple-trouble acoustic guitars. There was an electric mandolin, and their warm voices were surprisingly solid.

If you have the chance to see Carly Rae Jepsen in concert, do not pass it up. Find a show here.

Carly Rae Jepsen Set List
Run Away With Me
Making the Most of the Night
Warm Blood
Boy Problems
This Kiss
Favourite Colour
Gimmie Love
Good Time
I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance
Tonight I’m Getting Over You
Your Type
When I Needed You
Love Again
LA Hallucinations
All That
Let’s Get Lost
Call Me Maybe
I Really Like You

Review by Stephanie Dore
Photos by Sunny Martini

Carly Rae Jepsen, Cardiknox, and Fairground Saints