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Noname @ The Wiltern [02/21/2019]

Written by on February 23, 2019

Room 25 is an album that is very close to my heart. When it came out last September, it immediately became one of my favorite albums of 2018 and for a few days afterward, it was the only thing I would listen to. Room 25 became strongly associated with home and with the end of summer; when I listen to tracks like “self”, I’m immediately brought back home and am reminded of the days I spent laying around just listening to “self” on repeat. That being said, I was looking forward to seeing Noname live.

Vibrant lights, red and blue. The Wiltern marquee: Noname, sold out.

My friend and I arrived a bit late and the floor was quite crowded but we were able to meet up with some other people and get an OK spot. After waiting for a bit, the opener, Elton, came on. I had never heard anything from Elton before and after the first few tracks, I realized it was not something I would typically listen to. His performances were quite funky or jazzy, in a style similar to but still very different from Noname. He also brought out a few people, including Phoelix, who is featured in a lot of Noname tracks as well. One notable moment in Elton’s performance was his cover of an Andre 3000 song but otherwise, once his performance ended, I was looking forward to Noname coming on.

After around 30-40 minutes of waiting, the lights dimmed and a bright neon “ROOM 25″ sign lit up. She opened with “self”. She continued with other favorites like “Blaxploitation” and “Prayer Song”. Other memorable moments were when she performed “Ace” and some of her tracks from Telefone like “Bye Bye Baby”. Overall, the instrumentation was superb, probably one of my favorite parts; her band and backup singers were the highlights of the night.

There were some qualms I had about the show, specifically the length. Noname’s set was around 40-45 minutes, including her encore (an acapella version of “Shadow Man”) but this was to be expected since Room 25 itself is only around 35 minutes long. A lot of the tracks on her albums also have incredible features but she only was able to bring out Phoelix. I was disappointed that Saba and Smino didn’t come out to perform “Ace” since Saba’s verse in “Ace” was one of my favorites in the entire album, but since they were both touring, it was expected. Also, she was pretty high throughout the entire show and the audience could tell but honestly, it added to her show, which was overall, really amazing. Noname herself was charming, likable, and most of all, very genuine.

Room 25 was such a monumental album for me in 2018 and seeing it live was incredible, regardless of the small hiccups and I’ll be listening to Room 25 on repeat (again) for the next few days.

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