Jan 21, 2018 - For Beatroute BC. Review by Alan Ranta.
Chicago based hip-hop artist K.Flay who released her second studio album, Every Where Is Some Where, on April 4, 2017 via Interscope Records which features singles "Blood In The Cut" and "High Enough" played at the Commodore Ballroom last night (Jan 21).
"Still touring on the back of Every Where Is Some Where, released in early 2017, the fact that K.Flay sold-out the Commodore on a drizzly Sunday, along with its two recent Grammy nominations, shows the breakout album deserves a victory lap.
With a bigger lighting rig and her three-piece band on risers behind her, K.Flay wasted no time digging into her genre-defying hip-hop-tinged art-rock/alt-pop set, the majority of which was expectedly drawn from Every Where Is Some Where.
Born as Kristine Meredith Flaherty in Illinois, K.Flay employed plaintive hand gestures as her slick, dark hair passionately draped across her face, yet she seemed distant for the first few tracks. She didn’t really dig her heels into the moment until “Dreamers,” wherein she beat her chest as she yelled the refrain, “I want more.” She carried that momentum through the uptempo flows on “Can’t Sleep,” “Champagne” and mamma’s basement track “So Fast, So Maybe.” Flaherty had to catch her breath after the latter, as she introduced her worthy support: multi-instrumentalist producer JT Daly, guitarist Josh Lippi, and drummer Will Baldocchi.
K.Flay has an impish rasp of a voice like you might imagine a young Janis Joplin forging her raw emotion into crisp flows rather than bluesy screams. A fantastic performer with superb pacing, she tightened her grasp on the party as her set went on. She toasted tequila as she dedicated “Wishing It Was You” to all the loveless bastards, yet she was contrastingly tender on her familial ballad “Mean It,” centered on her voice and a synth. She hit a wide range, and most of it stuck the landing.
While her band often literally and figuratively faded into the shadows behind her, they made their presence felt when needed. They hit hard, and dazzled a little flash to take it over the top, but K.Flay clearly commanded the focus herself, as she should. Get woke to her voice and vision, lest you be left behind.