Author: Madeline Thomas
(Photos taken from the artists’ respective personal platforms)
Came for the opener, came for the headliner. Kari Faux? Love her. Mick Jenkins? Love him. Neumos? Love it. Is it in bad taste to make a holy trinity joke here?
Admittedly, I am not religious. There are few beliefs I hold steadfast, save for musical opinions and non-dairy milk preferences. Lost on me is the value of standing in line for a general admission show (Mars in Aries justifies sneaking to the front halfway through the opening act). The Mick Jenkins x Kari Faux performance sold-out, so a pre-doors line was to be expected. Unexpectedly I did wait in that line. For some reason, I felt compelled to put in the effort to secure a prime spot for the show. Perhaps the positivity of Jenkins’ public persona or my intense crush on Kari Faux can explain the night’s passivity. No pushing or weaseling was involved in the acquisition of a front-and-center view.
Reflective of Jenkins’ personal mantras, which promote kindness and respect, the rest of the crowd at Neumos seemed to share my good mood. Reflective of his musical career, each album a mix of multiple genres, the fans represented most social circles in Seattle. Queer attendance, though, was definitely thanks to Miss Kari Faux. Regardless of her sexual preference, Kari Faux simply radiates top energy. As soon as she sauntered onto stage, she held us in the palm of her hand. While we were sitting there, she took good care of us.
I had seen Kari Faux perform once before; last year she opened for HOMESHAKE in New York. She was just as good then as she is now. Faux is a dynamic artist with a knack for varying vocals. “Small Talk,” a single off the soundtrack for HBO series Insecure, was my introduction to Faux. Like Jenkins, much of Kari Faux’s lyricism is subtle advice. “B***h I’m taking calls – no small talk,” is the hook of the song; it’s intended to be a lowkey diss towards fame-hungry rappers. The video is less lowkey, as is characteristic of Faux’s art direction. Her music videos are cute and actually funny without being eye-roll inducing. She is over the top, yes, but only in the best ways.
(Childish Gambino sampled “Small Talk” on a track featuring Black Party– another collaboration deserving of a holy trinity comparison.)
Faux’s humor shines through her songs as well as her stage-presence. She gave off the same energy you encounter or feel from the barista who gives you free coffee, or the bus driver who doesn’t take your transfer slip. Also, Kari Faux is fine as hell, and either has a killer stylist or killer taste (or both, probably both). I distinctly remember the outfit she wore at the New York concert. A year from now, I will still remember the clothes she donned that night at Neumos.
Jenkins hit the stage looking fresh as well and smiling just as big as Faux had upon entering and exiting the spotlight. Like I had predicted, throughout the concert he offered small mementos to put the music in context for the fans.
It is hard to determine if his smooth voice explains the trance-like state of the audience that night. Undeniable, however, is the ability of Jenkins’ steady, chocolate covered cherry, Dutch Masters, Black and Mild sounding pitch to inspire momentum. Mantras offered in his lyrics incentivize acts of kindness, and bass-driven beats remind the hips why R&B is the most sensual genre. Jenkins subconsciously persuaded each and every audience member to move along to the music. I’m not saying everyone was dancing – t his is Seattle after all.
Buuuuuut, I saw feet tapping and heads bopping. Yes, foot off the ground stomping, even. And that, my friends, is the power of positivity. Do concert-goers usually drink that much water in between sets? They do when Mick Jenkins demands you to “drink more water!” Mick Jenkins is a chaotic good and no one can convince me of otherwise. He once said in an interview that his mission in music, as corny as it sounds, is to “spread love.” Speaking for all of those congregated in the small space that is Neumos on one holy Sunday evening, Seattle felt the love.
MADELINE THOMAS | shout out personal stylists | KXSU Music Reporter