SHOW REVIEW: OMAR APOLLO @ EL REY

In the grimy Los Angeles weather as of late, it’s hard for me to believe that it is almost summertime. But Omar Apollo streaked some blue glitter dust onto his cheeks and provided some beats so funky that I forgot the must and dust for one Thursday night at the El Rey.

Ever since I discovered “Lucky” off his debut EP last June, in my Spotify Discover Weekly playlist, Omar Apollo has been full of musical and artistic surprises. His top hits, “Ugotme” and “Unbothered” are fairly solid, traditional indie-feel records with sweet, soul groove that demonstrate just a touch of his falsetto power. Falsetto! This guy’s got it down, and could easily be on par with Sam Smith. It was heavily apparent in “Ashamed”, the second song of the sets as the crowd screamed through the high notes, and later in “So Good”, which evoked the same screams and some shouts of “Omar, I love you!”

Omar Apollo’s lyrics are easy and digestible, sometimes almost mindless, and he sings like he truly means it. There was no question that every person in the audience that night was fawning at least a little over the countless hair swoops between songs-- multiple requests were made for him to “take it off”. But perhaps the biggest surprise of this entire concert experience was Omar’s moves. I came for the tunes, which I received, but there was a gift with purchase: Elvis-worthy hip thrusts and even a bit of old school sliding. It’s honestly hard to find artists who still both sing and dance, while not choreographed but also not simply flailing some limbs and calling it a day.

Top tracks of the evening were the mourning “Trouble” and the Frank Sinatra-esque “Brakelights”. Omar Apollo proved that he is not only a recording artist, but also a performer to continue watching for.

Claire Bai, Staff


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