The #ASOSRocks VIP after-party at the Hard Rock Hotel was the place to be Friday night after Lollapalooza. With a line stretching down Michigan avenue and scheduled performances by Emeli Sandé and St. Lucia, those who managed a spot on the guest list for this intimate event were not ready for the long Lolla day to end just yet.
Ivy Levan kicked the night off, and she was BAD… but girl I mean that in a good way! She’s got this awesome 50’s boppy feel to her music, and she’s got a super sexy vibe to her whole performance. The sass and swing sound shines brightest on her single “Hot Damn,” which found Levan strutting around the stage, teasing the males in the crowd every now and again with a bending over smirk. Only thing that was a little weird was the band wearing black leather zipped up masks…
A big shout out to DJ Penguin Prison, who performed “Hollywood” live and got the whole crowd dancing and bouncing to the awesome chorus as they waited for the night’s headliners. Check the song out here. If you’re not groovin’ to it a minute in you’re listening wrong.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t sold on St. Lucia before seeing them live Friday night. Didn’t hate them, didn’t love them. Luckily that didn’t effect my decision to check them out. I left a big fan.
The band seems to work together like a machine, drawing from each movement and each word sung by front man Jean-Philip Grobler. Dancing around stage, complete with spins and extensions of the mic stand, Grobler’s vocals are crisp and the harmonies with the rest of the band mesh perfectly. The sound has an 80’s synth-pop feel, fit for a mellow club crowd or a ready-to-get-down audience, without the overbearing throbbing sound some electronic music can have. “All Eyes on You” is the perfect example of that, featuring a rhythmic chorus that reminded me of the classic “Time After Time.”
Grobler has the poise of a seasoned veteran on stage, even holding composure despite marriage proposals from the crowd to his girlfriend and band keyboardist Patricia Beranek. He can switch it up with that rhythmic staccato in “All Eyes on You,” then go to the EP’s finale “Closer Than This” with soaring vocals. Beranek is sweet in her own right, playing along with the audience who fell so quickly in love, even donning the hat of one of those guys who proposed multiple times. A great combo I recommend checking out live.
Before Emeli Sandé came onto the stage she was introduced as a special treat, considering she would NEVER be playing that small of a venue in the UK. Dazzling from the start, Sandé controlled the stage and had the crowd drooling over every note she hit. Her rich voice sent vibrations throughout the room and she never for a second lost the confidence that saw her remake Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” (which even Jay Z loved, putting it on the Great Gatsby soundtrack).
The highlights of the night were “Heaven” and the hit single “Next to Me.” Yes, that may have been almost half the set list, but she was that good. On “Heaven,” the already powerful chorus was given an extra punch with three backup singers joining Sandé live. She moved all over the stage, engaging everyone from the front to the back, while the backups gave the performance gospel tinges, turning the track into a full blown R&B ballad. “Next to Me” was as expected, incredible live. Not only did the energy seem to get turned up another notch, but Emeli Sandé seemed to feed off the crowd screaming every word back at her and extended her voice to a massive level not many could reach.
In between songs, I could hear attendees debate who Sandé is most comparable to. “Katy Perry!? No! She’s like a mix of Adele and Mariah [Carey].” Not sure if the person that said Katy Perry was really listening… but the other was pretty high praise for the 26 year old British recording artist. Well deserved as well.
Check out the rest of our pictures below. All Photos by Michael Bojda