By: Jonina Diele

What’s doper than $3 concert? A $3 concert with a first time CO visit for one of London’s biggest up and coming souls singers, some of Denver’s best talent, AND free meatball subs!  

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photo by: Annie Kane courtesy of BolderBeat

Friday, September 30th’s final 2016 Souls In Action curated Red Bull Sound Select show featuring NAO, Povi, and Rumtum at the Gothic Theatre, was all of that and so much more.

The sandwiches -more about those later- were the perfect fuel for the energetic dancing Rumtum’s set evoked. The Denver producer played breaking beats live on a drum pad with funky, feel-good grooves that kept the crowd moving in anticipation of Povi and NAO.

DJ Simone Says kept the hype up before introducing Povi, who appropriately took the stage to the T.I classic “Bring Em Out”. The Denver native was instantly in her element, taking hold of the audience as if it were second nature.  A brief interlude in the R&B vocalist’s set was entertainingly filled by local dancers performing masterfully femme choreography to O.T. Genasis’ “Cut It”. Povi reappeared, outfit change and all, and proceeded to run through her hits like “Park Hill” and “4AM”. Her vocal ability shined on a live rendition of Beyonce’s “Me Myself and I” and even “Happy Birthday,” which she sang to her mother after bringing her out on stage. Park Hill’s urban mermaid closed her set with a banger and some silly string, reminding us she was right where she was supposed to be.

NAO’s entrance was a galactic one, with sounds of spaceships melting into “Intro (Like Velvet)” as the barefoot goddess took the stage. A packed Gothic Theatre lit up when the London singer and her band moved into “Inhale Exhale”. Colorful lights bled onto the stage, changing schemes with each song and successfully enhancing the mood of each track. “In the Morning” was flooded with different shades of blue, seemingly visual airs of NAO’s chilling vocals.

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photo by: Annie Kane courtesy of BolderBeat

The singer’s conversational voice was both adorable and soothing, especially when talking about her decision to come to Denver: “if there are people that wanna see me there, I gotta go!” The transition from this comforting tone to her powerhouse vocals—at times sounding even better than her already impressive recordings—was effortless and captivating. She didn’t withhold treats that didn’t make her debut album, For All We Know, either. The single “Firefly”, her collaboration track with Mura Masa, was easily a fan favorite. She jubilantly danced in circles through her set, and had us dancing right there with her.

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photo by: Annie Kane courtesy of BolderBeat

NAO is the artist who is a comfortable breath of live performance fresh air. She belongs on stage, but not in a demanding, I’m-here-to-entertain way—she wants to share with the audience. She makes it known that she appreciates their presence so deeply without even having to say it—it’s in her air, eyes, and presence. And just as we’re in awe of her talent, she’s in awe that the voices singing her art back to her are real, even saying she “die[s] every time.” Oh NAO, we’re right there dying with you!

If you’ve been to a previous SIA curated Red Bull Sound Select show you know to expect more than just a great new-to-Denver headliner.  Aside from the beautiful and unique stage production and the always feel good crowd, Souls In Action also makes sure your stomach is full!  For the last SIAxRBSS show of 2016, Dio Mio, a forthcoming counter-service Italian eatery, served delicious cheese-oozing bites of meatball sub heaven to the first 100 attendees. Chefs Spencer White and Alex Figura are bringing their focus on handcrafted pasta and other Italian goodness to Denver’s RiNo district this fall. Until then, the culinary duo can be spotted doing pop-ups and previews of the restaurant all around Denver. Check their event schedule and find out more about their vision at diomiopasta.com.

Red Bull Sound Select Denver shows curated by Souls In Action will continue in 2017!

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