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A Night With Poppy – Am I A Girl? Tour

Over the weekend, I had the honor of attending Poppy’s Am I A Girl? Tour on behalf of UIC Radio. The show took place at the House of Blues in Chicago on Friday night and was opened by musician, Flint Eastwood.

Poppy is a controversial internet phenomenon who went viral in 2016. The long blonde haired singer began posting short eerie videos onto her Youtube channel, directed by Titanic Sinclair. The strange videos were pastel tinted with ominous background music. Poppy would be seen standing alone in the video in different costumes, speaking in a childlike voice about the evils of technology and social media, being controlled by the Illuminati, and being a manufactured girl created to serve the pop music industry.

Poppy is a character based upon Japanese-inspired bubblegum pop. Through interviews to live performances, Poppy somehow maintains staying in the character that she and Sinclair invented, and has rarely been caught breaking out of it. Given her bizarre characteristics, I was interested to see for myself what a live Poppy show consists of, and here is what I observed:

I pulled up to the House of Blues to find myself drowning in a swarm of Poppy stans. Staying on PopTara brand, these stans were mostly girls and gays, so I was obviously in the right place.

(On another note, these stans were also extraordinarily stylish to the point where it was kind of scary to be in the same room as them).

The show began with an ominous voice-over of a man asking, “Is Poppy a girl? Or Is Poppy a boy? Or is Poppy gender neutral?” followed by a voice over of Poppy crying for “help,” while three Illuminati triangles glitched in the background. The pop star then appeared on stage with her guitar and opened with her single, Am I A Girl? Poppy was joined on stage with her band members wearing short blonde wigs with bangs and powder white makeup. (Would like to point out that I had that hairstyle first).

Her visuals also added a fun element to her show. Alternating between a triangle with a ‘P’ in the center, to a hypnotic spiral, to animated flames, and to Egyptian hieroglyphics — everything I would expect from Poppy’s aesthetics. 

Poppy’s light vocals and ability to command the stage kept my attention for the entire show. I popped all the way off to her performance of one of her older songs (and one of my personal favorites) Money.

I also appreciated her cover of Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall Part 2. The eeriness of the song and the eeriness of her style really meshed well together.

One transition during the performance that was also highly on brand for Poppy was her segment into a song that gave off heavy Jonestown vibes. Poppy gave water to those on the barricade and then asked everyone at the show to hold up their drinks. Poppy’s voice-over then proceeded to say “drink your drink if you trust Poppy,” while a bright green screen with the poison symbol gleamed in the background.

Continuing on with night, Poppy played a total of 16 songs. The crowd had a strong reaction to each performance and enjoyed dancing and singing along with the 24-year-old singer.

Another odd point of the night was when Poppy threw an open bag of family size Doritos into the crowd. The audience reacted by cheering while holding their hands up in a triangle formation — to anyone at the show who was not too familiar with Poppy, this probably gave off the illusion of a borderline cult ritual.

The show ended with my favorite Poppy song, X, and a classic rockstar-moment-guitar smash. As the house lights turned back on, Africa by Toto began to play, and that was what a night with Poppy looked like.

Throughout the entire night, I never once saw Poppy break character. Every time she interacted with the crowd she spoke in the same soft childlike tone she uses in her Youtube videos.

If you ever have the chance to check out a Poppy show, I would definitely recommend going; you never know what’s going to happen next and there is an 80% chance you’ll end up in a cult by the end of the night.

My name is Tara and I put out articles for UIC Radio on whatever day I can. I’m a media communication and professional writing major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I host a pop music show, PopTara, on UIC Radio every Wednesday from 8:30pm-10:30pm. If you want to keep up with my saucy life you can follow me here:

twitter – @phemebot

music instagram – @lyricsbytara

personal instagram@tarapheme

facebook – @PopTara

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