So venturing out of my comfort zone I decided to check out an R&B show this past Tuesday, December 18th at Metropolis… and yes, I’m refusing to call it anything else.
The show started promptly on time and I actually regrettably missed the first couple of songs. I’m not sure if it was a sold out show but it certainly seemed that way. The place was pretty packed and instead of the weed smoke and mosh-pits that I’m accustomed to, it was perfume clouds and couples making out.
Opening the show was Ravyn Lenae from Chicago’s Southside. She’s a relatively new artist having released her first material in 2015, at the age of 15 years old, the EP Moon Shoes. Soon afterwards she was picked up by Atlantic records and since then has had two more releases, Midnight Moonlight and her latest release from 2018, Crush, for which she is currently touring.
The stage design was reminiscent of a classic “Lounge Club” with her three-piece band, drums, guitar, bass/keyboard spread across the stage with the singer-songwriter in the middle and her name in huge lit-up fancy letters behind her.
After watching and listening to a couple of songs I understand why she’s moving up fast; she’s the whole package, as they say, a talented songwriter with an incredibly easy on the ears voice. A few tracks I particularly enjoyed were “The Night Song” (which has an awesome video), “4 Leaf Clover,” and “Sticky.” She performed about 9 songs some of which have a soft and slow flow to them but she ended on a more upbeat track “Free Room” which is probably my favourite track of hers so far.
Headlining the show was another new artist for me, Jorja Smith from Walsall, West Midland UK. She is also relatively new to the music industry at just 21 years old. Her first release was Project 11 from 2016 and she is currently on tour for her first studio album Lost & Found.
Smith’s set design also had a very classy yet contemporary look to it with huge draping curtains in the background of her and her four-piece band. They opened with the album’s title track, “Lost & Found” followed by a variety of other songs from the album including “Goodbyes,” “Tomorrow,” “Life Boats” and “Blue Lights,” which I really liked. The audience loved her with good reason, her talent is undeniable whether you’re into the genre or not. A good example was the first song of her three track encore, “Don’t Watch Me Cry,” which she performed standing still, center on an otherwise darkened stage with just the piano backing her up. She actually performed this song a few weeks ago on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and if you watch the video it will give you a good idea of what we got to see this past Tuesday. She ended her set with “Let Me Down” and “On My Mind” which was a strong finish.
She had mentioned a couple of times how this show was her “favourite show” but she probably says that to all the cities. I’m sure she’ll just as much and even more love it if and when she returns.
A comical side note, there was some guy filming the show with a VHS camera! I’m not crazy, photographer Mihaela saw it too. Those who are peers of these two young talented artists can ask your parents what a VHS is.
Written by Joey Beaudin
Photography by Mihaela Petrescu
*edited by Mike Milito