Nao Works the Crowd at Concord Music Hall

All Photos and Video by Meredith Fuentes

All Photos and Video by Meredith Fuentes

By Meredith Fuentes

A single spot light fell upon the crowd as Nao began her set with “Another Lifetime.” The funk/R&B artist stood among the crowd in a bedazzled two piece set and a white coat that lit up the room. This tour comes after the release of Nao’s second studio album, Saturn, and during the concert, Nao discussed the title’s relation to her life: Nao is 29 years old, so the past year or so for her has been the year of Saturn’s return to its place in the night sky at the time she was born, an astrological rite of passage that for Nao has proved an era of transformation and growth. Nao’s energy and spunk were undeniable as she walked on stage. It was instantly clear that Nao is more than just a recording artist. She is a performer.

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Near the middle of the concert, Nao disappeared backstage and returned carrying a bouquet of white balloons. The crowd erupted in screams as she handed the balloons to her fans, a nod to the cover art of Saturn. The concert reached it climax as Nao went into the intro for “Bad Blood,” a cut off her first album. As the beat dropped, Nao busted out some major dance moves.

Her vocal range is insane, and her ability to captivate a crowd makes you part of an unforgettable experience, not just an observer. Her "wonky funk" music, as Nao herself describes it, is something truly innovative in the world of R&B. She is an artist who possesses natural talent and stretches it to the wobbly fringes of convention. By the time her next album brings her back to Chicago, she will probably require a bigger venue.

Steven Norwalk