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LIVE REVIEW: Kelsy Karter at Ponyboy in Oklahoma City, OK on May 6, 2022

Photos and Review by: Allyssa Arens

Lineup: Kelsy Karter, Daphne’s Couch, Animal Sun

Date: May 6, 2022

Location: Ponyboy, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Kelsy Karter is proving that she is more than just the girl who went viral for faking a Harry Styles face tattoo back in 2019, embarking on her first United States headlining tour, dubbed “Pink, Kink, and Punk – The Tour,” and rocking faces off. Hailing from New Zealand, Karter’s blend of pop-rock instrumentals, raspy vocals, and a major DGAF attitude is a breath of fresh air in an era of alternative with a tendency towards excessive synths.

Kicking off the night was Animal Sun, an alternative rock quartet from Los Angeles. Their set was full of energy as they played a few songs from their debut album, echoes of a dream, as well as recent singles “Chasing Shadows” and “I’m Already Dead”; the latter of which is a collaboration with DREAMERS. Though the venue was not packed, they made sure that as many people as possible were dancing by the end. A personal highlight for me was the set closer “Can You Hear the Thunder?”, where their guitarist swapped his axe for an electric violin, offering a unique touch to the set.

Next up was Daphne’s Couch, a new addition to the alt scene. Their set continued the energy level as they played through their brief discography, even adding in a cover of Blur’s “Song 2” in the middle of their set.

Finally, a little after 10 p.m., Kelsy Karter took the stage, and instantly the crowd was enamored with her stage presence. She opened her set with her 2019 single “What U”, before launching into a raucous 45-ish minute set that was an emotional roller-coaster, ranging from heavier fare like “Devil On My Shoulder”, “Goodness Gracious”, and latest single “RIP” to slower, emotional tracks such as “Stick to Your Guns” and set closer “Liquor Store on Mars”. One of many highlights was her cover of Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever”, one of three covers on the setlist. (The others were Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush and Blondie’s “Call Me”, both of which she also smashed.)

One thing that made this tour stand out to me was Kelsy’s emphasis on creating a space for fans to express themselves however they desire, through the awarding of a “best dressed fan” award every night. As someone who has struggled with their own self-image at different points, I appreciate that she is trying to bring some additional light and encouragement into the world in this way.

The current leg of Kelsy Karter’s “Pink, Kink, and Punk – The Tour” wraps up on May 11 in San Diego, CA before heading over to the United Kingdom.

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