Raury Takes Flight at Bowery Ballroom in New York City
Due to some technical difficulties last night (Nov. 3), Raury, the teenage Atlanta artist, was not due out until roughly fifteen minutes after his scheduled set time. Even though the concert was running a little late and people were anxiously looking at the clocks, murmuring about work that needed to be done the next day, barely anyone ventured out of Bowery Ballroom in New York City. Instead, the anticipation had the opposite effect, as fans began to pile in one after the other. When the lights went down for the final time, the crowd lost complete control of their excitement and were transported back into the here and now.
Prior to Raury’s emergence from stage left, India Shawn and London O’Connor performed short sets to get the crowd going. India Shawn was closer to the traditional side of R&B and was playful throughout her time on stage. She serenaded the audience with her performance of “I’m Alive,” a track featured on Solange’s Saint Heron compilation. London O’Connor and his cube were excellent and shocked the crowd. He was a burst of energy, both creative and kinetic, and would not slow down. He hopped on and off of his lit cube, thrashing and encouraging all in attendance to lose their minds and go wild. O’Connor’s vocals on “Nobody Hangs Out Anymore” was filled with emotion and sounds better live.
If the mark of good artist is how much their music affects those who hear it, then Raury’s performance last night was a testament to his great future. His set was a little over an hour long and was a healthy mixture of Indigo Child and his latest album, All We Need. Raury’s goal of changing the world and spreading positivity was apparent right from the beginning. Every speech he gave revolved around self-empowerment and dream building. The show was definitely a test in self-love and fraternal peace; aspects that the crowd seemingly needed to hear as they sung along with every song. Some of Raury’s best moments were “Cigarette Song” and “God’s Whisper,” each from Indigo Child. The acoustic parts of the former remain beautifully done live and the energy with which he performs the latter, is impossible to not fall into.
However, Raury was not only there to preach about love, but to make everyone aware of the tragedies that befall young men like him on a daily basis. “Trap Tears,” a harrowing account of the realities of trap life in his hometown, was rocking and the crowd went into a frenzy. “Forbidden Knowledge” was one of the cooler records off All We Need and he performed it interestingly, making use of his four giant blinding lights. “Devil’s Whisper,” a track that describes his battle with ambition and greed, had the crowd insane; if you were not up prior to the song dropping, you definitely were once it was done.
The young Atlanta artist is definitely still growing as a musician, but his live set is one to behold. Raury throws himself around the stage and his band wail away at their instruments, as smoke and lights shine down from seemingly the heavens. The Crystal Express were in the building and it transformed from the place.—James Elliot