If this review reads like a love letter to what I considered ‘The Aluna Show,’ it’s because it is.
[Editor’s Note: This post marks Michelle’s second contribution to Concert Buds, which is super appropriate since she’s the one who suggested I check-out AlunaGeorge in the first place. I listened, and enjoyed them enough to push for press passes to the event. As soon as the duo kicked-off their set with the upbeat “Kaleidescope Love” we were instantly blown away. As the night went on, our obsession with Aluna began to grow. And it wasn’t just us; the entire audience was completely in love with her voice, personality, style, and the way she moved. (Let the record also show that her vocals take on a more soulful quality live.) I only wish that I had brought my Canon so I could have captured her beauty. Next time they come to town, we’ll be better prepared — mentally, physically and emotionally. — Jenni Moore, Assistant Editor]
I’ll be honest, my personal investment in British synthpop/R&B duo Alunageorge pre-2016 has been pretty lukewarm. Many of us Americans were first exposed to the woodland fairy-like voice of Aluna through the duo’s feature in Disclosure’s extremely successful “White Noise,” which ended up being one of the first songs they performed at their concert in Portland on August 2nd. While it was a great song (their first hit), they pretty much fell off my radar up until their recent deluge of banger after banger: “Automatic,” “I’m in Control,” “My Blood,” and my personal favorite, “I Remember.” (Footnote: in six degrees of WOHM fashion, both “Automatic” and “My Blood” feature ZHU, who we saw with Gallant at the Roseland.
Last week, AlunaGeorge released the video for their latest single “Mean What I Mean” with Aluna leading the lady power posse of my dreams with rappers Dreezy and Leikeli47. This exponential come-up that AG had been experiencing should have signaled to me what kind of show to expect, but for some reason, I thought it would still be a relaxing, feel good show.
I am so glad that I was so wrong. AG hit the ground running with George wasting no time in starting and Aluna leaping toward the crowd, catching many off guard with how quickly they were ready to start. It set the tone of the show as an act that was ready to continuously impress as the night went on. George was surrounded by multiple keyboards and synthesizers, throwing in a classical piano segment every once in awhile that made you wish this was a small intimate nightly lounge instead of a borderline rave. In addition to the starring duo, they also had talented drummer James Trood whose performance added a layer of complexity to each song. However, it was really Aluna that was the star of the night. Her stage persona easily and instantly charmed the audience, and she was also wearing the flyest outfit I had feasted my eyes upon.
Any quippy comment she made between songs was met with enthusiastic screaming and smiles all around. You couldn’t help but grin as she turned her head back to the drummer, her eyes half-lidded, pointed her chin at him and said, “Come on now!” to start the song. Even George couldn’t hide a small smile behind his black tee and matching snapback. Her cheekiness was even more apparent through her dancing like she was the valedictorian of the Aaliyah School of Cargo Pants and Effortless Body Rolls. She seemed to be in complete “control” over the pacing of the show, and it’s no wonder George has decided to take a step back and let her shine. Consider us stans.