On Saturday afternoon, October 3, rock’s best kept secret, Kelsy Karter, took to the Internet to give friends, family, and dedicated fans the virtual concert of a lifetime. From strobe lights and electric guitar breakdowns to a full band with high quality musicality and an active global-spanning audience, it was clear even before Karter hit the stage that the show was going to be full of warmth, personality, and energy.
Having released her stellar, personal, and girl-power-centric debut album not even 48 hours before, there were so many songs fans were eager to hear the rocker rip into live on stage for the very first time. Fans took to the chat prior to the start of the show expressing their excitement and love, dropping comments in the swirling chat box ranging from “gonna pee my pants i’m so excited” to “AHHH i haven’t been this excited all year.” (Yes, there are direct quotes of messages sent for everyone to see – and agree with.)
Donning a bedazzled version of her infamous “Who The Fuck Is Kelsy Karter?” t-shirt, the L.A. by way of New Zealand performer proved that, even through a screen, her stage presence is unmatched. She blew kisses to the camera, curbed her tendency to use profanity (because her dad and family were watching), and admitted that she wrote the songs off this new record in an angry, dark, and depressing time… but releasing the music that came out of that period allowed a weight to be lifted off her shoulders. Alongside her best friend and the frustration-inducing stories that she brought into the studio, Karter had a cathartic writing experience that is enjoyable, danceable, and relatable for everyone who listens to her debut LP, Missing Person.
“Hello everyone, again, I’m Kelsy Karter and my pants are coming undone because, you know, quarantine,” the rocker spoke into the microphone, starting off the show in the most realistic of ways and all while smiling simultaneously to herself and the viewers. Without a second to catch her breath between telling stories, laughing, eating, and singing, she effortlessly slides into deep, gritty vocal tones and high register squeals that prove her versatility again and again.
Karter’s performance of “I’m So Mad at Him,” specifically, was such a passionate, theatrical, and oh-so-rock-and-roll moment that I know it would have left the likes of Freddie Mercury speechless. It was so perfectly Kelsy Karter. That’s all she ever has to be, too. The singer-songwriter was honest about not doing things for attention and not being down to do everything like the media perceived her as.
“Sexuality, and embracing one’s sexuality, is a personal thing…. If I want to be sexy, I’ll be sexy, not because someone tells me to be sexy,” she spoke earnestly mid-set.
It consistently felt like Karter was speaking and singing directly into the hearts of every audience member, even when stating that cheeky, rebellious songs like “Stick to Your Guns” came right from her “balls.” Many people were leaving comments through the live virtual concert, as well, talking about the chills they had from each and every song and the pride they had in Kelsy for releasing Missing Person, performing it live, and explaining the personal connection she has with every song on it.
The strong-willed rockstar reimagined her song “Catch Me If You Can” during her set, as well, which is one of her beloved early singles. She took it from a punky, roll-the-windows-down banger to a moment of sadness, reflection, and strength. Also off Missing Person, Karter explained that this song, and this phenomenal record as a whole, is one of “love, rebellion, individuality, the times, and heartbreak.”
Kelsy Karter, ever outspoken, made sure to intertwine chants of “Wear your mask!” into her set, too, which was not only admirable, but further proved that she is deserving of all the love, personally and musically, as possible. Authentic music, heartwarming confidence, a love for life, and the most trustworthy aurora on-and-off the stage makes every listener feel like they can trust her with their deepest, darkest secrets. Not many people exude that, let alone on stage or with their very first record, but Karter does it with ease.
Missing Person is out NOW! You can keep up with Kelsy, her music, virtual shows, and more on her Instagram!