On her way to newly minted pop stardom, Maggie Rogers has had several pinch-me moments. When superstar Pharrell Williams praised her college master-class recording. When she performed on “Saturday Night Live” three months before her debut album dropped. And when she walked into the sold-out Armory in Minneapolis on Thursday.
“I audibly shrieked,” she told 8,000 worshipful fans. She was shocked to be headlining in what she called a mini-arena. And, to top it off, Rogers’ mom was at the Minneapolis concert with her best friend.
Rogers, 25, responded with an eternally exuberant, charmingly unsophisticated and unquestionably captivating performance.
She was simply unable to restrain her natural giddiness and unfettered joy in dancing to her rhythmic electro-pop. She jumped up and down, ran in place, skipped, sashayed, shook her long hair and spun in circles — and that was just during the tune “On + Off.”
For nearly every one of her 90 minutes onstage, Rogers danced as if no one was watching her. Even on the ballads. She couldn’t contain her enthusiasm. Even on the sad numbers. There was no choreography. She just moved as if the music was administering delightful electric shocks to her body.
All this hyperactivity did not diminish her lush voice in the least. (Lip syncers, take note: you can dance and sing live at the same time.) Rogers’ rangy voice was deliciously luxurious, a mixture of melodic richness, high cooing, sexy whisper and soulful falsetto.
There were vocal echoes of Stevie Nicks (“Past Life”), Mariah Carey (“Say It”) and Joni Mitchell (“Alaska,” done solo on acoustic guitar). And Rogers certainly evokes Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine in both her remarkable vocal range and dance-happy stage manner, though Welch is ballet-trained and more graceful.
Musically, Rogers, who grew up playing banjo in rural Maryland, became enamored of electronic music during a college semester abroad in France. Her introspective, poetic lyrics set to electro-pop makes for modern music with intellectual depth. Her songs, filled with openness, vulnerability and resilience, seem to resonate with women in their 20s, who dominated the crowd.
“If you’re not a feminist, you shouldn’t be here,” Rogers declared as she urged fans to stop by a Planned Parenthood booth at her concert.
“If you’re not registered to vote, you’re an idiot,” she said, plugging the Head Count voter registration table.
Rogers reminisced about her previous performances in Minneapolis — in March 2017 at the now-defunct Triple Rock and last fall at First Avenue, where she taped off a 12-by-12-foot space on the stage to prepare for an appearance on “Saturday Night Live’s” postage-stamp-sized stage.
She marveled aloud at how far she’d come in three years, with her flashy silver outfit and diaphanous cape, the high-tech lighting and the rave reviews for her debut album “Heard It in a Past Life,” which has earned considerable airplay on alternative radio stations like 89.3 the Current.
In concert, Rogers, backed by four musicians, delivered the entire album plus a couple of older tunes. Unlike the record, the performance suffered a bit from similar dynamics on too many numbers.
However, her impressive album and compelling concert suggest that Rogers could be headed for another pinch-me moment: a shot at the Grammy for best new artist along with the more high-profile hitmakers, Billie Eilish, Lizzo and Lil Nas X.