Sol w/Brothers From Another & Otieno Terry
Showbox, Seattle, WA

Armed with heavy lyrical ammunition, Sol, Brothers From Another and Otieno Terry brought an old school, jazzy vibe to The Showbox. The historic Seattle venue played host to these local hip hop artists – in support of Sol’s latest album, The Headspace Traveler, for a show that was personal, engaging, insightful, and sold out.

Otieno Terry started off the night with rising bell synths and crimson lighting on stage. He introduced himself with a soulful voice, accompanied by cymbals on the live drums. Terry immersed himself in his performance, swaying his body left and right in a hypnotic motion along with the music. His work contains many experimental sounds and synth, for example the incorporation of tribal sounds. Tucked beneath the psychedelic rhythms were oscillating synths and dangling on top were tribal chants. As these elements harmonized throughout, Terry sang and danced while the crowd enjoyed the seemingly tangible sound emitting off the stage.

Nevertheless, Terry made sure not to stray too far away from the genre, his next song, “There is No More,” featured a more familiar modern hip-hop beat with oscillating pitched bells and melancholy Rhodes piano. Terry also performed a cover of Kanye West’s “Black Skinhead.” It’s almost as if Terry was more into the song than West himself as he screamed and danced with the critically acclaimed song.

Brothers From Another gave off a different presence on stage. DJ Beeba (Nick Beeba) hyped the crowd up with A$AP Rocky’s “Lord Pretty Flacko Jodye 2.” The venue was filled with heavy 808 kicks and bass. Then suddenly, everyone was introduced to some nostalgic Backstreet Boys. Right from the start, BFA introduced themselves as a playful trio that goes hand in hand with their how they perform. Even their DJ set on stage was between two ferns (or some kind of plant) adding to their persona on stage.

Isaiah Banks and Cole conversed on stage about getting weed, while Banks left the stage to stock up, Cole started performing “Broke Talk” with DJ Beeba. The funky chilled vibe got people nodding their heads and moving their bodies. And when Banks got back, the beat got slower and the synths got darker, introducing the next song from the trio, “Blunt Talk.” Their performance was engaging and interactive, and it’s pretty obvious that they really wanted their live performance to be something special for their fans.

Sol, a Seattle native and a University of Washington graduate introduced The HeadSpace Traveler and a few of his past songs to the crowd. He’s got a live band behind him for this performance, a guitarist, drummer and someone on the turntables. The stage was lit with revolving, multicolored lights, and the back was illuminated like stars on a clear night. There were also strong white beam lights that lit across the venue adding to the performance. Sol wore a stylish blue and white mesh shirt, and he carried an air of strikingly positive attitude.

He performed his remix of SISTER’s “Back 2 U” giving out his message through the synth-pop-ish vibe and was on the edge of the stage by the next song “Yours Truly.” The engagement between him and his fans was truly shown when he performed “Yours Truly,” his critically acclaimed track that was number one on iTunes. Everyone was singing along in unison when the chorus kicked in, the entire venue chanting like Seahawks fans in Centurylink. Afterward, he transitioned to his next song with a monolog rap almost like spoken word to “Don’t Even Party,” from Headspace, with smooth Roland piano chords and green mood lights layered on the stage.

By the end of the night Sol had brought his mom and aunties on stage (one of whom came all the way from Haiti), showing his appreciation for them and thanking his fans in Seattle. And because he’s of Haitian descent, he will bring back daily supplies back to his family’s village. The performance was very engaging and held a lot of substance. The fans there really enjoyed his performance and most of all the messages in it, as I spoke with some of the audience there, they told me about how Sol’s music brings up a nostalgic feel and messages that inspire.

Review by Kai-Yao Lan
Photos by Alex Crick

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20160415_SOL-at-TheShowbox_Alex-Crick_09Otieno Terry





20160415_Otieno-Terry-at-TheShowbox_Alex-Crick_08Brothers From Another