Enjoy the sound of Lights unplugged 

Like most superheroes, the keytar-slinging Canadian who calls herself Lights had a secret identity at one point — mild-mannered Valerie Anne Poxleitner, who was raised on the road by her globetrotting missionary parents.

But with her synth-fizzy 2009 debut “The Listening” and an ensuing series of animated videos, the “World of Warcraft” fan created an alternate comic-book universe for herself, wherein she’s a raygun-brandishing Barbarella out to save the universe from a music-loathing supervillain named Lotar.

All well and good. But now, she’d like to clarify one key point: She’s not some mindless cartoon.

This week, the Juno-winning Lights will teleport into The City without space-age trappings.

Armed with only a six-string guitar this time, she’ll be premiering her just-released “Lights. Acoustic” EP that features simply-strummed renditions of signature album tracks “River,” “Saviour” and “February Air,” as well as the new “Romance Is …” and a delicate reworking of Rancid’s punk anthem “Fall Back Down.”

“I had a week off in March in the middle of my tour with Owl City, and I spent it all in my apartment studio, under my loft bed, just recording these songs entirely by myself,” she says.

“And all the photos for the EP were just taken by a friend on Polaroid. So it was a really great chance for me to show people exactly what’s here.”

It’s a telling glimpse into the singer’s true artistic potential. Minus her usual keyboard balustrades, her voice soars above the skeletal acoustic chords, breathing new life into her material in the process.

So put it this way, she says: “I love electronica and production and everything surrounding my music, like comics and sci-fi. But if you don’t have a good song — if you don’t have the perfect melody, tied in with the perfect lyrics — you have nothing that’s going to carry your career. You’re building your entire city on sand.”

Even when she started composing as a teen, Lights — now 23 — was thoughtful about her craft.

“I always worried, ‘What if the world runs out of melodies? What if they all get spent?’” she says. “I actually spent a lot of years being really scared about that. But I’ve noticed, as time goes on, that melodies change, and the melodies that we have now could never have been invented 20 years ago.” 

Fingers crossed, the photogenic Lights is also planning a jump to cinema.

“Maybe a zombie movie,” she says. “Or the new ‘World of Warcraft’ film that Sam Raimi’s directing. I would love to be a Blood Elf — I think I can do it!”


IF YOU GO

Lights

Where: Café Du Nord, 2174 Market St., San Francisco

When: 8 p.m. Thursday 

Tickets: $20

Contact: (415) 861-5016; www.ticketweb.com

About The Author

Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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