Words and photography by Alisha DeCou
Photos and impressions from alternative rapper K.Flay's kick off show at The Marquee in Tempe, AZ with support from Your Smith and Houses.
Illinois-based singer-songwriter and rapper K Flay kicked off the tour for her latest EP, Solutions, last week at the Marquee Theater in Tempe, Arizona on September 3rd. The vibe of the night was like being in a candy store, a chaotic sugar high energy from the crowd fueled from K. Flay's sweet vocals and matched with a weightless cotton-candy stage charm. The crowd was all in for a night of musical treats.
The show opened with indie folk singer Caroline Smith, aka Your Smith, with just a smile, a wave, and a keyboard. Her stage presence may have screamed diva with the way she owned the stage, but she clearly isn’t just a good performer. Witty yet soft-spoken, her lyrics are as deep as her voice is sultry. Her passionate cover of the Wilson Phillips early 90’s hit "Hold On" was a perfect choice to appease the room full of thirty-somethings. Her unique gritty-bluesy sound quickly ignited the audience and kept them high until the end. She even had security tapping their feet.
Chicago based electro-pop duo Houses took the stage next. There was an intriguing awkwardness that resonated from both singers. Singer Dexter Tortoriello began the set safely hidden behind his keyboard, but slowly came into his own and soon moved with the music around the stage, while co-member Megan Messina stayed elegant in composure while projecting her passionate, soothing voice. Their translucent sound was the calm before the K. Flay storm.
After a short intermission, three figures ran through the shadows and scurried to their places atop of a magnificent pyramid of cubes. When the lights came back up, K Flay sprung to her feet. Her unique, child-like voice echoed through the theater as she dove into the politically driven song, "Not in California".
The Grammy-nominated artist and her band cranked out every single song from her newest album, Solutions. The setlist had just the right elements to showcase her lyrical talents and hip hop roots, but it really all just came down to K.Flay, her guitar, and a love story. She sprinkled sugary confections of words with a dangerously fierce energy that is not to be reckoned with. She engaged the audience with her emotional rendition of Liz Phair's "Fuck and Run" that had the energy of an intimate band jam session. The highlight of the night, however, was her encore performance of her hit single "Blood in the Cut", where she impressively got everyone in the packed theater to crouch down on their knees in complete silence to absorb the music.
K. Flay is still on tour in support of her 2019 Solutions release. You catch a taste of the sugar rush by checking out tour dates and info here.