[Photo courtesy of Atlantic Records]
I’ve seen fights at two shows in my lifetime. I’m not talking moshing or the crowd getting rowdy; I’m talking full-out fist fights. The first show was when Echosmith opened for twenty one pilots. Yes, those twenty one pilots, and yes, that Echosmith. I’m not making this up.
The second show was Kehlani this past Saturday. I’m not sure if it was the mixture of it being a Saturday night and a borderline-rap show, but everyone was turnt at Showbox Sodo. More on the fight later.
Noodles, who is Kehlani’s DJ, played a set of bangers that got the crowd pumped. Kehlani walked on stage right at 9:30 p.m., and opened with my favorite song of hers, “Keep On.” Kehlani is just as heavenly live as she is on her newest record, SweetSexySavage, if not more so in person.
Towards the end of that song, she said, “Stop, stop everything right now.” Her band went silent, her beats stopped, and she knelt down. “There’s no fighting at Kehlani shows,” she said. She waited until security lugged the two out of the venue, and then explained that her shows, especially during this political climate, are places of love only. She said if there was one more fight she was going to pack up and leave, and the rest of the night was full of love and expression only.
She played the majority of the songs off of her newest record, and added two flawless dancers and choreography to the mix live. “Piece of Mind” and “Too Much” were absolutely fantastic. Kehlani’s artistic vision is not one to be f****d with. She’s literally the embodiment of sweet, sexy, and savage, so her live show is intoxicating. Like KXSU’s former head reporter, Marcus Shriver, once said best, “I could do nothing but be reminded of TLC. The power, the attitude, and the vibe that Kehlani gave off reminded me of everything TLC, and I loved it so much.”
Other powerful moments of the night were when she changed the setlist mid show, and told the band she wanted to play “Advice” and “Distraction.” Both were passionate and sultry, and then she played “CRZY” per the request of the audience. Throughout the night, she reiterated how important it is to love right now, and to be yourself. Her songs do that in themselves, but when an artist stops their show to broadcast such positivity, it’s pretty beautiful.
Unfortunately, that message didn’t last very long, as when I was trying to leave after her show, another fight broke out by the merchandise table. The amount of violence was pretty ironic, but Kehlani still radiated compassion and love, and I left the venue feeling inner peace.
I can honestly say that I believe Kehlani and other artists like her are doing the most for music and art right now. Through their music, they’re pulling young people together and telling them to believe in themselves, and to never settle for less than what they want. I think that’s pretty damn powerful.
ANNA KAPLAN | Sun!!! | KXSU Music Reporter