Kali Uchis brings the Isolation tour to the DMV
Indie pop’s favorite songstress returned to the 9:30 Club on Oct. 10
The beat to "Dead to Me" began in the 9:30 Club and the shadow of Kali Uchis appeared behind a white closed curtain. She graced the stage in a black lingerie top and black striped track pants and joined her band on stage. She had two extremely long ponytails, making something usually seen on school girls somehow elegant.
She performed an eclectic set, singing songs from both of her studio albums, "Por Vida" and "Isolation." “Por Vida” was released in 2015 and “Isolation” in 2018. Uchis performed “Dead to Me,” "Tomorrow," and "Tyrant" off of the “Isolation” album. She even covered "I Feel Love" by Donna Summer and it it was similar to the original because the accompaniment was the same, but it was in a lower key to fit Uchis’ voice.
These performances showcased her raw talent, without all the autotune that come with a studio recording. She improvised, often straying away from the original notes and adding longer runs.
Her dancing was authentic and didn’t seem rehearsed. She was simply moving to the beat. She also made sure to incorporate physical elements to enhance the songs, specifically she chose to physically get up during "Get Up." Her dancing made it more entertaining and allowed the audience members for their eyes, in addition to their eyes, to be entertained.
During some songs, she would give a little background on her songwriting process and herself. She asked if anyone knew anything about her and someone shouted “Columbia,” making everyone crack a smile, including Uchis. She discussed her rationale behind her song, "Loner,” noting that she’s shy and she really didn’t want to let this guy in but he was annoyingly persistent. She finally let him in and he hurt her, which made her realize why she doesn’t talk to people.
She shared another story when she introduced “Killer,” sharing that it was written about a 5-year relationship she had from the age of 15 to 19. She mentioned that she “wouldn’t recommend it,” noting that having a serious relationship at that age isn’t good for you because you’re still figuring out who you are. When she performed "Killer," she brought out a clear chair to dance with. She dropped it low and knelt on the floor multiple times.
Her set seemed to end rather quickly, and many of the audience members seemed to be confused when she said goodbye. Granted, she doesn’t necessarily have an extensive discography, but it just seemed like a short concert, as it only lasted for a little over an hour. Needless to say, the crowd wanted more. Almost immediately after the band left the stage, the audience began to shout “Kali!” After about a minute of extensive begging from the crowd, the queen herself re-entered the stage.
But this time, there wasn’t a set list, and she said she would perform any song that the audience wanted. The lights in the venue went on so she could see us and read our lips for suggestions. Her show even took a political route when she was attempting to get suggestions her last few songs. She said “I need everyone to participate, just like I need everyone to participate in the vote coming up.” She also stated that she would sing something acapella if her band didn’t know it. This is a bold choice because when a song is sung acapella, their voice is left absent from all the other elements of the song, and the audience can only focus on the quality of her voice.
Her last few songs were "Speed", "Your Teeth in My Neck", and "Ridin' Round", none of which were performed acapella unfortunately.
Kali Uchis’ performance at the 9:30 Club was a pleasant surprise. It is a rare occurrence for a artist, especially a pop artist, to outperform their heavily produced studio albums. She was able to let her quirky personality shine through while maintaining her image. Uchis shows that you don’t have to be perfect to succeed in an industry dominated by diva personalities. She proves that you can be a shy sad girl from the DMV and have the ability to captivate your audience with your uniqueness.