There’s always something a bit more special about smaller concerts. Intimate venues provide a closeness to both the artist and other fans. This coziness allows for musicians to shine, which is exactly what Snoh Aalegra did. She brought her sensual, seductive show to the Balcony Bar at the Trocadero Sept. 20.
Aalegra is a Swedish-Iranian singer who currently resides in L.A. She released her first full-length project “Feels” back in 2017, and is just now touring the United States in support of it. This is her first headlining tour, having previously stopped in Philly when she opened for Daniel Caesar last October.
Before Aalegra hit the stage, her opener Mereba played a short set. The crowd hushed as she played her first song, which was more of a spoken word-poem. The silence in the room was palpable and a bit awkward, only being broken by Mereba’s slow words and an accompanying acoustic guitar. But her performance ramped up, as she wavered between singing and rapping, and used a DJ set for the rest of her performance. The crowd really started to get into her groove when someone in the audience shouted “happy birthday!” to Mereba, who’s birthday was the day prior. She left the stage after only a few songs, leaving the crowd wanting more but hungry for Aalegra to arrive.
And she made an entrance. The singer sauntered on stage, looking absolutely stunning. She only wore a sports bra and sweatpants, and her long hair waved as she started to groove to her music. She opened up with a medley of tracks off of “Feels,” including “Nothing Burns Like the Cold” and “Fool For You.” Aalegra had a backing band comprised of a keyboardist, two guitarists, and a drummer. Each member of the band was as animated as the last, and helped turn this concert into a true performance.
Aalegra has a very unique sound. Her music is traditionally R&B, but has a certain older cadence to it. Accompanied by strings and orchestral sounds, her songs often sound as if they could be the soundtrack to a James Bond movie from the 1960’s. She blends this with vibrant production to create tracks which aptly do make you feel a lot of emotions.
After running through the bulk of her album, Aalegra took some time to address the audience about the struggles of finding your place in the world. Being from Europe, with Middle Eastern parents, before moving to the United States made her feel very lost for many years. But she was able to find her place through her music and friends. This segued into the stand-out performance of the night, her song “Home” off of her earlier EP “Don’t Explain.” This was an incredibly passionate and heartfelt performance and it was obvious that this song meant a lot to Aalegra. She finished her set with “Out of Your Way,” an ode to anyone who has given more in a relationship than they have gotten out of it. She then thanked the audience and walked off stage, before coming back to do a lively encore performance of “You Got Me.”
Snoh Aalegra’s star has been slowly rising. After working with major artists such as Vince Staples and Common, she had a major break when her song “Time” was sampled by Drake on the album-opening track “Do Not Disturb” off of “More Life.” Ever since then her songs have racked up millions of streams, and her first headlining tour across America is selling out. Just recently, her song “Nothing Burns Like the Cold” was featured in the Apple 2018 Unveiling Conference. After seeing her incredible performance and rise, Aalegra is sure to play at stadiums soon.