KALI UCHIS LIVE AT THE OBSERVATORY
Tuesday had singles, couples and everyone-in-an-its-complicated-relationship in between, cruising down to Santa Ana to attend a special Valentines Day show put on by indie-soul songstress Kali Uchis. As the doors opened, the nights tone was already being set by a classic car show in the lot of The Observatory while Oakland’s B-Side Brujas, an all female vinyl DJ collective, spun tunes fit to transport anyone back to the days when cruising Boulevards was a heavy knit part of counter culture in Southern California.
This thematic environment continued inside the venue as an array of fans donning a truly unique style of 60s retro, 70s groove and modern LA edginess, that the songstress has helped maleate. Leopard prints to winged liner to fur jackets to lots of denim, the fashion trends of the night were as cohesively diverse as the crowd that sported them. Cementing her fashion influence, Kali’s very own merchandise including “Por Vida” shirts and white sunglasses made a habitual appearance in the crowd.
Observing peoples interactions taking place inside the sold out venue, I noticed it was packed with just as many singles as there were couples. The songstress managed to create a night fit for any lover to celebrate, before she had even made her presence known. From those celebrating Galentines with friends, Valentines with a lover or just another great Taco Tuesday (I went alone so I made the last category for myself), the romance commonly found in the lyrics of classic oldies, continually spun in the background by the DJ collective, was the only sentiment that seemed to permeate the venue.
The formal set was opened with a fusion of music reminiscent of soulful hip-hop blended with hard-hitting drumbeats and guitar riffs played by Phony Ppl, conveniently also the members of Kali’s band, in an impressive set. As I made my way to the photo pit before Kali took the stage, I chatted with a couple of fans behind me. Some were underage and worried about not making their curfew, some were anxious first-time viewers and some had waited outside of the venue as early as 6:00 am to secure a spot in the front to see their favorite songstress.