Smashing hearts spelled as SMSHNG HRTS drops the first beat as the curtain raises revealing the opening group of the night. The crowd and lights reverse roles, the lights dance as the crowd acts a stationary spotlight for the anticipation of the nights performing acts which included acts like The Seshen, Iman Omari and Alice Smith.
“The Picture” is the opening song, played with two guitarists and a drummer, musicianship filled the mile high ceiling of The Mayan, the venue Red Bull chose to host its Sound Select concert. Similar to a real life Guitar Hero scene, the band plays on stage as bright blue, magenta and purple lights wiz past their faces and stage fog slowly cruises by in the background. The band takes the stage with “OMW” (On My Way) delivering confidence whilst the lead vocalist works both ends of the stage, seamlessly weaving a tapestry of soul, jazz and rock to r&b inspired melodies. The sound can only be described as atmospheric, retro, electro-soul. Indeed soul is used as the direct energy source for the electrifying guitar solo that the band took intermission to highlight. “Just Can’t Stop” was among one of the other songs that caressed the crowd.
Big hair and even bigger personality super impose on a lofty bed of sultry vocals from The Seshen. Emerging from the curtain veiled stage is a diverse group of instrumentalists; most intriguing are the use of finger cymbals and an impressive set of congos played by members of the group. Two beautifully brown women summon attention with lively and light-hearted dancing. This session, with its intricate mash up of vocal effects and synthesizers evoke involuntary lifted hands, body rolling and hip swaying smashing social anxiety into “Oblivion”, also one of the songs performed with magnetic mystique.
Iman Omari massages the crowd with affirmations for their good vibes and support. He is dressed in full African print, sporting locs pulled back into a bun. A trumpet player and flute player, who occasionally disguises himself as a saxophone player, jumps back and forth between the two instruments seasoning the crowd with flavorful jazz riffs acting like condiments to the musical goulash that is the Iman Omari set. The initial notes of “Energy” are the match to the red tipped phosphorus crowd igniting them into a blaze of bliss and familiarity; the crowd approves. Iman continues to leave the stage ablaze, wasting no time Iman slowly creeps into the ever calming lyrics to “Wait A Minute”, a song originally featuring another artist, Tiffany Gouche.
After the final curtain drop, it raises again unveiling a larger than life, candy apple red disco ball emanating its brilliance onto the crowd acting as a herald to the arrival of Alice Smith, the final performance of the night. Alice is the perfect night cap with her folk- blues fusion influences, unruly voice and piano ballads mixing styles similar to Corinne Bailey Rae with Kali Uches while keeping integrity in her delivery and vocal control similar to a modern Ella Fitzgerald.
Alice accessorizes her strong full bodied vocal arrangements with a simple black dress. Bodies occupy the space directly below the stage and donate their gaze to Alice as if she’s a majestic being from some distant Wonderland. She begins with “Easy”, then transitions to a Cee-lo cover of “I’m a fool”. Alice does some songs from her latest Album “SHE”. The crowd pays her in the traditional concert currency of whistles and yells in between songs. She then carries out the rest of the night with a smooth instrumental and some new unreleased tracks.