Review by: Lejla Subašić
There is no standing still for Empress Of. Casual as ever, Lorely Rodriguez, the Honduran-American vocalist/songwriter takes over the snug stage of The House of Vans with her live drummer, as they feed off of each other in their cheetah print tops. A sort of fun and carelessness you see during the intimacy of a lax rehearsal.
Her vocals layer as heavenly echoes while she effortlessly tops it off with her own authentic flexibility of a voice. “Anybody here speak Spanish?” Rodriguez banters, as the audience cheers and sing along to Trust Me Baby, a song infused with Spanish and English. Unchained to move with her own beats and bangs of the crisp and biting hi-hat, she creates a tsunami of spurring in the moment movements, extracting from the instruments and to her bodily present. From eddying her arms above her head, to pointing to hopping on one foot to the other as the drummer mimics Rodriguez’s footsteps (the two have mastered multitasking), a fierceness prevails as she turns and looks over her shoulder teasing the audience.
The audience stayed in the present as cellphones were put away in the song How Do You Do It. Rodriguez as an empathetic mirror, reflects onto the audience into themselves in her easily relatable songs, as they then move with Empress Of, like quick sway dances in a ballroom. A sort of a wave apart from most of the performance, as the audience was moving in grouped spurts.
In the joys of her merrymaking, she then reaches a vulnerable point of the night, ending the night with a quick one, transitioning from fun to a funk. A fragility, much similar to her first emotionally focused album Me. During her last performance, she urges the audience to get into their feelings, knowing that it’s Friday and the audience would rather “turn up”. She then falls to the floor on her knees, arching her back outwards, singing into her stomach, carried out with no follow up of an encore.
Photos © 2018 by: Daniel Boczarski (IG – @danielboczarski)