Under a moonless sky on Friday, Oct. 13, German singer-songwriter Kim Petras took the stage of The Mann Center to treat Philadelphia to her Feed The Beast World Tour. The three-hour show celebrated the success of her recent music while rewarding longtime fans with a visit to her fittingly haunting early records.
An 8:00 p.m. opening DJ set by singer, producer and songwriter Alex Chapman energized the crowd while the last light of the setting sun vanished. Cold night air swept through the Mann Pavillion and over an audience heating up to new hits like Troye Sivan’s “Rush” and classics like Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me).” Chapman took listeners from the punching verses of Nicki Minaj’s “Moment 4 Life” to the pleading chorus of Robyn’s “Dancing on My Own” as excitement for Petras’ show mounted and the crowd filled in. After just under an hour, house lights fell and Chapman’s set ended.
At 9:00 p.m. sharp, fog rolled over the stage and visuals appeared on all screens. Fans cheered as a two-minute pre-show monologue boomed throughout the venue, featuring a speech by Petras with matching video and graphics. At its climax, cloaked dancers appeared as an iron maiden-like figure rose out of the stage. Dancers opened the metal sarcophagus to reveal Petras as the backtrack fed into the beat of this tour’s namesake track, “Feed The Beast.”
Immediately after the electric bass of her first song finished pulsing through the amphitheater, the singer pivoted from the tour’s lead album. The deep, dark rhythm of “Personal Hell” — a fan-favorite track from Petras’ debut mixtape “Clarity” — took the audience back to the singer’s earlier influence as Petras laid impressive vocals over a thumping beat.
Following this departure, Petras returned to her debut album and played three more songs off of “Feed The Beast.” The crowd erupted during “King of Hearts,” the fan-proclaimed song of the summer and audience favorite track from the album. Petras kept the energy going with the synthpop-infused “Revelations” before concluding the first act with her and Sam Smith’s “Unholy.”
After an interlude backed by “KIM KIM KIM” — a track teased and later leaked that never appeared in Petras’ official discography — the singer took the stage to grace the crowd with her entire third EP “Slut Pop.” A roaring crowd chanted the lyrics to all seven of the dance pop tracks, which the singer played in the album sequence. Petras closed this powerhouse segment with “Treat Me Like A Ho,” a track from her originally planned debut album Problématique, which was scrapped after a massive leak. After releasing “Feed The Beast” as her debut studio album this June, Petras surprise dropped “Problematique” just days before beginning the North American leg of her Feed The Beast World Tour.
The show’s third act opened with the “Feed The Beast” track “Claws,” after which Petras indulged old and new fans alike with a throwback to her 2017 bubblegum-pop single “Hillside Boys.” She also performed “Something About U,” another “Problématique” track, and “Hit It From The Back” and “BAIT” off of “Feed The Beast”. This third, slightly balladic act gave fans a break from the blasting rhythms of Petras’ electro house and techno-infused set, and gave the singer a chance to exercise her vocal and tonal range.
A haunting interlude of “o m e n” — an instrumental track featuring spectral vocals from Petras’ Halloween-themed 2018 EP — then prepared fans to finally dive into some of the artist’s ghoulish early music. Petras opened her fourth act with “Turn Off The Light,” the title track of her 2018 EP that featured Elvira. Keeping with the macabre motif, she followed with “Wrong Turn,” “There Will Be Blood,” an interlude of the instrumental “<demons>,” “In The Next Life” and “Everybody Dies” — all tracks from “Turn Off The Light” and its 2019 mixtape rerelease.
The fifth and final set began with the February 2023 single “brrr,” which was included in “Feed The Beast.” Petras also sang “Icy,” another track from her debut mixtape “Clarity”. She began to close the show by taking verses of “Minute” — a song beloved for its theme of begging and its gently bouncy rhythm — from a somber ballad to a playful goodbye, running amongst the audience as the tempo picked up. In a dazzling finale, Petras sent waves of deep-driving bass and electric synth crashing over the frenzied crowd as she delivered opt-up vocals and demanding runs throughout “Castle In The Sky” — a “Feed The Beast” track treasured by fans as a house-infused record perfect for raving.
After disappearing into the stage, Petras emerged to reward the crowd with a three-song encore performance. She began with a remix of “Alone,” a “Feed The Beast” track featuring Nicki Minaj, and followed with “Problématique,” the title track of her just weeks-old second studio album. She closed the show (for real this time) with a love letter to her Philadelphia fans by playing “Heart to Break,” another one of her early dance-pop singles.
Petras’ Feed The Beast World Tour will run through March of next year, and will consist of 39 shows, including four festivals and one radio show. For information on her tour and music, visit kimpetras.com. To learn more about one of Philadelphia’s nicest open-air venues, visit manncenter.org.