The Roxy – West Hollywood, CA
Friday May 13, 2016
Concert Reflections by A. Scott Galloway
Photos by Michael K. Adams
Obscured in red light, Nao sings in a cockney neo soul alto over sinewy pulsing grooves and speaks with gracefully gesturing limbs as if languid and outstretched underwater. Though the music has a techno vibe, her backing is a power trio of guitar, bass (doubling on occasional synth) and way off in the corner stage left, drums – delivering Grand Funk bottom as she falls in with the guitarist parroting snaky unorthodox lines. She’s an East Londoner in L.A. playing to a largely Asian crowd of young hipsters that has filled the famed Roxy on Sunset Boulevard with fully attentive love.
A guy with his girl’s back in his chest grips his sippy drink for dear life as he clumsily tries to match her temperature-raising undulations. Another girl in the V.I.P. makes angular vogue diva gestures around her lovely face, eyes closed, lost in the music. Nao’s haunting voice pouring forth from the dim stage is transporting people to who knows where while she flings her feathered hair, deciphers hieroglyphics with her hands, and sings of “zillionaires” and “fools to love.”
Regardless of where her fans are taking wing, Nao is on her way to the stars.
(Nao – an expressive and assured singer formerly of the a cappella group The Boxettes – is currently on tour as warm-up for Mura Masa. She has two indie EPs – So Good and February 15 – already out, and a debut CD forthcoming on RCA.)
A. Scott Galloway
The Urban Music Scene
Photo Credit: Michael K. Adams