Look no further for a beautifully soulful and highly engaging show than the one that critic darling Jamila Woods played at the Echoplex. A deeply personal and honest soul singer, poet and arts educator, she played an incredible show to a packed crowd in support of her new LP LEGACY! LEGACY! Each track is named after a poet, artist, or musician that’s inspired her in her creative journey and process.
She opened with a beautiful and groovy instrumental intro and started with “BETTY.” The accompanying light show was incredible and the reception of the performance warranted a minute long ovation. Jamila then went into “ZORA,” which had the lushest sounds of keys and triangle. It was dreamy and beautiful and so lush you’d want to swim in the sounds forever. She then went into “GIOVANNI,” and introduced “SONIA” by asking if anyone in the audience had “been in a relationship that had you fucked up” to a roaring thunder of agreement.
She then went into “FRIDA,” “MILES, and “MUDDY.” For “SUN RA,” she described how she loves and looks up to Sun Ra because of how he “uses imagination to define his identity.” Jamila then went back in her catalogue to her 2017 release HEAVN with a performance of “STELLAR.” It became extremely evident that’s she’s always been full of raw honesty and soul. “LONELY” heard the crowd yelling the lyrics back to her. It was a really touching moment. She then left for another short intermission and came back for “BASQUIAT.” A brief audio of James Baldwin filling the venue preceded a beautiful performance of “BALDWIN,” which was then followed by “EARTHA,” which was also introduced by a clip, this one was the wonderful Eartha Kitt talking about how she refuses to compromise for a man.
A bright white spotlight illuminated Jamila when he did “HOLY.” We were all grateful to have been taken to church with this angel on earth. “For my last song can everyone make all the noise you can for the black women in the room.” is how she introduced “Blk Girl Soldier,” in which the venue erupted into applause and stomps, another really pure and beautiful moment brought on by a really pure and beautiful soul. Once she left the stage, her band played a little outta and showed off their skills, while the audience yelled for an encore amidst cheers and gratitude. We all received a gift when she did in fact come out for an encore with a performance of “LSD,” which was incredibly smooth and dreamy. The guitars really shined through in this performance and ended the great night on a high note.
Jamila Woods is truly a phenomenal performer with great control over her vocals and range. She was soothing and pure and engaging. She only performed for a little over an hour, but packed so much energy into the show. It was truly a powerful and magical experience.