When I entered L’Astral concert hall, they were playing Africa by Toto. I had been hearing a lot about that song on the internet very recently, so I thought it was a coincidence. But once the song finished, it started playing once again. And again and again.
There was a purpose behind this musical choice. As the rest of the show would prove, Poppy and Titanic Sinclair wanted to weaken the barrier between the real world and the internet. So, of course Africa by Toto would make an appearance at this show and would be played to us on repeat.
After all, repetitiveness is part and parcel of Poppy’s schitck. Her most famous and popular video on the internet is her saying “I’m Poppy” for 10 minutes straight. Her other popular videos follow a similar formula. The whole idea is to satirize internet culture, with a particular focus on authenticity.
Nothing about Poppy is real, but she is authentic in her inauthenticity. She takes words and phrases that real vloggers use to sound authentic and make them lose all meaning. It’s all very paradoxical and fascinating.
This is reflected in her music as well. Most her songs are about someone who wants to become a personality on the internet. It doesn’t stop there however. This person also wants to have a personal relationship with internet itself.
For Poppy, there is really no difference between the digital personas we create for ourselves and our own selves. In her case, the digital and the real personas are basically mashed together into one super persona.
So, in order for the audience to fully connect with the performance, Poppy needs to prepare the audience by breaking the boundary between the real and the internet.
Playing Africa by Toto on repeat is one way to do it. Another way is to have Charlotte (Poppy’s frenemy and literally mannequin) play a 30 minute DJ set before the show.
I’d like to think that there was a very specific reason for every song that they chose to put on Charlotte’s set. Most of the songs were what I would call “pop classics,” such as Party Rock Anthem, TiK ToK, etc. But the songs were interspresed with soundbytes from viral videos, like the “Lebron James Kid” and the “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That Lady.”
Now that I think about it, the whole experience felt like I was in an extended Vine.
But the real adventure started when Titanic Sinclair (who makes videos on the internet, in his own words) took the stage. If things weren’t weird until now, this is when they started to get really bizarre. First, I’m pretty sure Titanic tried to hypnotize and/or condition us, by showing us a series of weird videos.
Then, he drank some red liquid from a pitcher. One of the ongoing “jokes” on Poppy is that she is not a cult leader, wink wink, nudge nudge. So obviously, the whole preparation phase had occult vibes to it.
Roughly 45 minutes after Africa by Toto, Poppy finally took the stage and started with her most famous song, I’m Poppy, followed by one of my favorites, Computer Boy.
The whole spectacle was highly entertaining. The two backing dancers were very impressive. I wonder if they were the same ones from all her videos. Watching them flailing all around the stage made me feel tired – I can only imagine how it must have been like for them.
Every few songs, Poppy stopped singing and interacted with the audience in that peculiar Poppy. It’s at times like this that you can expect the two personas to be clashing. Does Poppy really enjoy being Poppy? I mean, probably. Someone in the audience handed her a drawing they made of her and Titanic and she really seemed to enjoy that.
And I enjoyed the songs, honestly. Poppy’s music is not groundbreaking, but they’re catchy. The sinister beat of Interweb is captivating and the riff in My Microphone is weirdly punk.
But my favorite song has to be My Style, which is a collab work with none other than Charlotte. My Style is not only catchy, but also has weird ass lyrics that I just can’t get over.
“Poppy is an object/Poppy is your best friend/Poppy will break your neck/Poppy will be your pet.”
What the fuck does it all mean? I don’t know. I also don’t care.
Poppy is what happens when we decide to ignore that virutal barrier we have constructed between the real world and the internet. Until today, however, Poppy had been strictly an internet phenomenon for me. But today, I’ve transcended that virtual barrier.
I think I’m a different person now. I don’t know what that truly means now, but we’ll see…