Kali Uchis at Showbox at the Market- 10/31
Kali Uchis has been on a steady come up since the start of her career. Her roster of collaborations is impressive- the list includes The Gorillaz, Tyler The Creator, Goldlink and even Latin legends Juanes. Though she has worked with incredible artists, her solo talent is not to be unseen. Her music is unique- a blend of jazz, pop, soul, and Latin influences- it makes up its own genre completely. At only twenty-three years old she has embarked on her first headlining tour this year and will be supporting Lana Del Rey on her upcoming tour early next year. It’s an exciting time for the young Colombian and an even better time to jump aboard ship as a fan. Kali is talented and I cannot stress this enough- a singer song writer, poet, producer, video director and style icon. She has her hands in it all and I think that’s what makes her so appealing, she does it all and she does it well.
To start the night off was the groovy soul group Phony Ppl. I’ve never seen anyone look so happy, truly. Every member of the band had this beautiful genuine smile plastered across their faces. The smiles paired with some upbeat soul… I was in heaven. I was only able to catch their last few songs- but luckily, I didn’t miss the most epic -perhaps nostalgic intro. “This song…” the lead singer announced, “is about a girl named Helga… from Hey Arnold” he slid into a sort of funk ballad about Helga Pataki and it was everything I didn’t know I needed to hear. At one point before the end of their set, the bassist walked around through the crowd checking out the costumes of the evening.
Once the opener finished the opening band returned as Kali’s supporting band and her iconic flower covered mic was set in the middle of the stage. The crowd screamed loudly as a faux brunette Kali belly danced her way onto the stage. I came out to a Halloween show exceptionally underdressed, I should have really worn a costume. At least that way if I was wearing a wig, it could have been snatched by Kali’s extremely on point Salma Hayek from ‘Dusk Till Dawn’ costume. Unreal. Unmatched. La unica. Watching her perform is something else. She dances barefoot across the stage, confidently, owning every inch of it.
Her vocals are as perfect as they are in recordings. Maybe even better, if that’s possible. The set list was ideal. It started off with a new song then slowly slid into her hits. When she sang her banger “Loner” I saw the crowd entering their feels, myself included, as they sang along. She did her remarkable rendition of “Sabor a Mi” which she makes into a slow melody which barely any music to it. Her full vocals are easy to get lost in during this track and coming from Mexico I’ve known this song as long as I can remember however her version does something different. It’s modern, and I really feel it. There’s something to be said about artists like Kali who can effortlessly switch back in forth between Spanish and English- creating hit songs in either language (or even both). To me, having grown up bilingual, it’s important to have modern artists with this ability. Even more so, it’s inspiring and relatable.
As I stood at the bar getting some water I heard the iconic beginning to her song “Ridin Round” and suddenly I was in a dance circle with a girl gang belting every word to this bad-bitch anthem. Another thing I took notice of that made my heart flutter with joy, was the amount of non-native Spanish speakers singing along to her songs in Spanish. To finish off the night, as an encore she asked for complete silence. I expected her to do something like loop her vocals or something of the sort. I was completely thrown and my mouth fell wide open as soon as I heard the word “suavemente” and as she sang it at the top of her lungs I salsa danced my way closer to the stage to get a clip of her rendition of my favorite Elvis Crespo bop.
Kali Uchi’s live show is something to be experienced. As she beings her climb into the mainstream don’t sleep on seeing her live because before we know it she’ll be selling out arenas!