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Liz Loughrey At The Hotel Cafe, Friday February 10th 2017

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Liz Loughrey

 

With its two stages, the Hotel Cafe is probably one of the most intimate venues in Los Angeles… Imagine you were seeing an emerging superstar on the smallest stage there is in town? You would be the first person to be able to take pics before the future star blows up? What a privilege! I cannot predict the future but it might be the case for Liz Loughrey who performed a 40-minute set at the Hotel café on Friday night.

Not only she was very pretty – and I hope we can still say this without being considered as sexist – but she was also singing with a soulful and flawless voice, which sent some Beyonce vibes in the room all night long. This early show at the Hotel Café was the Canadian artist’s only gig in the United States this year, but you will probably hear from her very soon. Last fall, she released her single ‘Rise Up’, that she wrote and produced herself with the help of Adrian X (The Weeknd, Drake) and Supa Dups (Bruno Mars, Mary J Blige…). The song, an authentic bringing-people-together anthem, has reached over 160k plays on Spotify since, and defines her approach to music and life, a ‘sense of calling people to come out of their comfort zone,’ as she describes.

An acoustic set is a very difficult exercise, you have basically no place to hide, but her soulful and strong voice was flying high during the entire 40 minutes, floating at ease above Adrian X’s acoustic accompaniment and Mr Canada’s (I didn’t pick his first name) subtle percussion. If her vocals had a strong R&B feel, she brought a lot of acrobatic nuances inside her melancholic to uplifting tunes, while the height and depth that her amazing voice reached during the catchy chorus of ‘Rapid Fire’ seemed to tell us to find some inner and undiscovered courage. She dedicated a song, ‘Come Back To Me’ to the ‘ladies out there’, and she performed the tune with a touch of jazzy experimentation and an extra coat of beats. She definitively wasn’t one-dimensional artist, as ‘Lose Control’ had a real swing and an almost flamenco-like exotic tempo, while she went behind a keyboard to add a layer of keys to Adrian X’s Manu-Chao-esque guitar. He later said he was from Jamaica, which explained the subtle almost reggae-like rhythms he was infusing during certain songs.

‘One thing is sure, we are gonna need more love in this world,’ she said before ‘Let’s Stay Together’. Her great voice did shine throughout the entire acoustic set with the same emotional depth, she sounded great during a Al Green’s cover of ‘Let’s Stay Together’, and things turned a bit Steve Wonder-like during the sad keys of ’Why Do We Cry?’ There are many R&B singers out there, but the Toronto-based singer seems to have opened a breach in the too-uniform wall of current R&B with warm nuances and shades.

Liz Loughrey wants to write the next soul-pop anthem, and she may have already done it with ‘Rise Up’, a song which was featured on the women’s march playlist. ‘There’s a movement associated with the song,’ she told us before singing the song, ‘the Rise Up Movement, and each of us has a role to play every single day!’ The song is an organic manifesto, not written with activism in mind, but naturally becoming a call to focus on our strengths to give back to the human community, and with this song, Liz has found the reason why she sings.

Setlist
No One
See Forever
(Sand Paper) Rapid Fire
Come Back To Me
Lose Control/Sade
Love in Motion
Let’s Stay Together
Why Do We Cry?
Hideway
Rise Up!

More pictures here

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