Harry Styles Emulates Folk-Rock Heroes at Intimate Los Angeles Gig
“Tonight is maybe the best night of my life,” Harry Styles confessed Friday, facing an excited crowd of fans and friends gathered to hear the songs of his just-released solo debut, Harry Styles. The intimate club performance unfolded at the Troubadour, the celebrated West Hollywood room where some of his folk-rock heroes from the Seventies performed early career-defining gigs.
The erstwhile One Direction singer walked out as casually as anyone can in golden glitter pants. He picked up an electric guitar to begin “Ever Since New York,” a ballad warm and jangly, to an audience of raised cell phones. He winced dramatically to the lyrics of bitter love (“Almost over / Had enough from you”), ending with a fan sing-along to the repeated closing line: “Oh, tell me something I don’t already know.”
The album wasn’t the obvious move for the pop idol, but is now fully expected to debut at Number One on the Billboard 200 album chart. The concert at the 500-capacity Troubadour was a night to celebrate (and a benefit for homeless teens), while a crowd of mostly female fans not lucky enough to score a ticket stood outside waiting behind a barricade, maybe hoping for a glimpse of Styles, guest James Corden or anyone else.
At 23, Styles has launched a solo career to genuine acclaim, drawing less on the immediate pop of his multi-platinum boy band than lessons learned from the rock and pop past. His new songs show the direct influence of Bowie, Elton John, the Stones, Lennon & McCartney, and many others. The results that aren’t revolutionary in 2017 but are emotionally resonant, and suggest a healthy foundation of taste and…