Chicago natives Noname and Ravyn Lenae performed for a sold-out show of 1000 at the Regent Theatre in Los Angeles while on the Telefone Tour – her first (and highly anticipated) tour ever. You may not have heard of either, but Lenae’s sultry sounds and Noname’s melancholic poetry are sure to enter your realm of music soon.
Ravyn Lenae, at just 18, has more soul and enthusiasm than most artists can only hope to achieve. Her breadth of musical ability ranges anywhere from gloomy soul/r&b to even what she describes as “house music.” Introducing each song with a bit of background helped Lenae’s eager audience to better understand each performance that followed. She precursed a moody “May” song by having the audience imagine May as a woman, whether that be your mother, aunt, girlfriend, or any female figure. Lenae also performed hits like “Right of Spring,” “Greetings,” “Blossom Dearie,” “Appleby,” and “Sleep Talking.”
Following the extended intermission, the lights dimmed, and Noname’s band took their places. Her background singers began some harmonies, accompanied by some groovy instrumental keys. Screenshots of tweets proving Noname fans’ excitement for the mixtape accompanied by memes flashed across the screen while her background singers murmured “telefone.”
After some light teasing (she spoke into the mic before going on stage) Noname made her entrance with “All I Need,” accompanied by 1000 voices screaming along. Clearly enjoying the company of her fans, Noname flashed a smile time to time while encouraging fans to sing the background vocals. Her reserved yet goofy self rapped the rest of her hits in rapid succession (she put on a superhero cape and sunglasses in between songs), even throwing in her “Lost” verse from Chance the Rapper’s 2013 mixtape “Acid Rap” which first thrust her into the spotlight before she was Noname (she was Noname Gypsy.) She invited Ravyn Lenae back onto the stage for “Forever.”
She seemingly with “Casket Pretty,” a short song that features a blunt conversation with reality over cheerful beats. The encore “Shadow Man” brings out Chicagoan close friend Smino for his guest feature on the track. The catchy chorus “bless the nightingale…” had the audience belting!
Although the live experience was much different than that of listening to her mixtape, it very much exceeded my high expectations and was overall extremely enjoyable. The friendly and inclusive crowd energy proved the show to be one of my favorites in recent years.
You can catch Ravyn Lenae and Noname on the rest of the Telefone Tour here (tickets may be hard to find!)
All photos are by Genesia Ting for the Los Angeles Beat. You can view more HD photos of Noname and Ravyn Lenae here.