For the release of her debut record “Infinite Worlds,” Vagabon played two Northeast shows, one at PhilaMOCA and the main show at Baby’s All Right. With the headlining act being able to control the openers for the show, the band put younger, POC at the forefront of the stage.
Hailing from Hartford, CT opening act Jelani Sei brought the school pride with fellow University of Hartford colleagues (the band themselves all under 21) lining up the front row of the crowd. Despite their age, the group composes themselves with the agency of seasoned pros, with co-vocalists Kayana Guity and Evan Lawrence flanked by guitarists Samuel Smith and Scott White, grounded by the impeccable combination of Lawerence’s bass and drummer Enayi Tamakloe. Creating intense compositions with influences ranging from jazz, fusion, and prog rock, the group is musical maximalism at its finest.
“Can I take a picture with you after this show? Cuz you are going to blow up after this!” a crowd member yelled in between Mal Devisa’s intimate tracks. Of the many times I have seen Mal Devisa live (this, being my first time not seeing her open for Mitski) it has always been a captivating set. Fresh off her tour playing much larger venues with Sampha, the artist unfortunately faced a setback after being robbed in New York. With this set, it was a bit disheartening to see her walk on stage with an entry level instrument, but in spite of technical adversity she managed to deliver a powerful, and emotionally raw set playing material from her crowdfunded record “Kiid.”
Musician Laetitia Tamko’s debut record was hailed with praise from NPR, Village Voice, and a slew of large music publications before even seeing the light of day. While the initial singles from the record “The Embers” and “Fear & Force” are re-worked tracks from her “Persian Garden” EP released back in 2014, the revisions give new life to the material she performed for years on the road in festivals like SXSW, CMJ, and Savannah Stopover. The set comprised of the entire record in a slightly amended order, with Tamko performing an unnamed track with the SP404 sampler giving the track a lo-fi hip hop feel. Backed by long-time drummer Elise Okusami and bassist Maggie Toth, the rhythm section breathes a pulse into the sparse compositions. During the cathartic closer “The Embers” Tamko’s stoic appearance broke during the final refrain, saying “Oh my god you guys are singing along, I’m going to fucking cry.” Even if she did, the reasons are entirely understandable. The release show of “Infinite Worlds” represents a years-long triumph of creating a piece of art that seamlessly blends genre, poetic verses, and elevates songwriting as a craft to an entire new level.