Kali Uchis Evaporates New York’s Radio City Music Hall: Concert Review


Now This entrance.

The scene of Kali Uchis’ tour “Red Moon on Venus” is bathed in red-pink light, centered around a raised platform with stairs on either side and arches underneath. A slowly brightening, supernova-like light fills the video screen behind him.

The singer enters the stage, slowly carried away by her six dancers, but disguised by huge ruffled feathers, where a luxurious empress is gently fanned by servants, as you see in old movies. They climb the steps, gently place him in the middle of the platform, then pull the feathers as the crowd screams, revealing that Uchis is nobly with his back turned, looking over his shoulder at the audience, wearing an all-red outfit. a halter, short skirt, stockings, sleeves, and a pair of high-heeled high-heeled boots. When “Telepathy” begins, while doing some sneaky moves, the dancers undress until one of them returns, handing over his microphone.

Make no mistake, Kali Uchis has arrived.

Photo: Macy Bryant

And it picked up its pace, as did its entrance onto the grand, flamboyant Radio City Music Hall stage for the first of two sold-out nights at the legendary venue. In the 11 years since her debut mixtape, “Drunken Babble,” Fabulous, the Colombian-American singer has been nominated for three unusually wide-ranging Grammy categories (R&B performance, dance recording, and musica urbana abum), has released three critically acclaimed albums, and He recorded several EPs, a big Latin hit with “Telepatia” and collaborated with Tyler, the Creator, SZA, Gorillaz, Snoop Dogg, Mac Miller, Steve Lacy, Rico Nasty, Kaytranada. And while his refusal to be categorized delayed his breakthrough—his music is a fluid combination of Latin, R&B, pop, dance, torch, and hip-hop—he arrived at this stage on his own terms, something he’s referred to several times. in your comments about believing in yourself even when it sounds like no one else does to the crowd.

Not surprisingly, the concert progressed at an equally unhurried and deliberate pace. There was no group – just him and the dancers. He seldom moved with them, but often swayed and wobbled and twitched as he formed a lively frame around him. And although he crammed around 30 songs into about 75 minutes – largely focused on his latest album “Red Moon in Venus” and collaborations with Tyler, Kaytranada, Omar Apollo, Daniel Caesar, El General, Lorna and possibly others – the rhythms never went above mid-tempo and never, ever in a hurry. It was a pretty hip-hop-savvy set, including just a few lines from each song and the chorus (or less) seamlessly moving into the next, the audience screaming and singing loudly with the first few lines as each one began. but then it disappears until the next one comes.

It was clearly a hot date night for many in the audience, singing while looking each other in the eyes or rocking together in hugs, but getting into the ghazal of making fun of me for the Uchis’ trademark casts. The strings of “Dead to Me” and “La Diabla” switch seamlessly between Spanish and English (“¿Papi, no quieres esto?/ All you’ll get is a goodbye kiss”).

He said a long goodbye to the crowd before the main set “After the Storm” approached, and was then taken away by the dancers (disguised with feathers) as he arrived, but surprised many by coming back for a repeat of “The Magnificent”. Blue”, Sade’s biggest Sade song ever released, and he left the stage as a pink sun set on the video screen.

Opening an all-North American tour, fast-rising British R&B-pop singer Raye brought a different kind of passion to her songs and set; a kind of unfiltered exuberance with a sudden, intense South London accent. Accompanied by his tight, stylishly dressed five-man band, he played on a sprawling headline set in town earlier this year, but that’s when his excellent, long-running debut album, “My 21st Century Blues,” was released in February – but it’s also a decent amount of communication with the crowd and some of his group’s debut. managed to include quick solos (including a mini-battle between the guitarist and the trumpeter). Raye also had a long rise and also talked about her early years as a prominent singer on the dance floor, with corporate executives trying to steer her into that lane to the extent that she eventually moved out of the major label system and into indie – and, of course, made the best music of her career.

The choice of Raye as the opening seems to be more than a little deliberate: The two strong performers of the evening are living proof that talent, self-belief and persistence can make it onto the Radio City Music Hall stage, even in the face of seemingly overwhelming negativity. . .

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