Kehlani Turned the Stage into a Soapbox, and That’s OK

Vinyl at Hard Rock, August 22

Photo by Linda Evans

Photo by Linda Evans

Twenty-year-old R&B singer Kehlani knows her fan base is young. (Young enough not to know the words to Usher’s 2001 mega-hit “U Don’t Have to Call” during a pre-show DJ set.) And while the Oakland, CA native’s lyrics aren’t always PG (We used to go round and round/ making love in my bed, she sings on “Alive”), she made it a point of her first Las Vegas appearance to preach positivity to her mostly underage audience.

While executing synchronized body rolls with her backup dancers (her hips hardly ever stopped moving), Kehlani used her warm, raspy voice to deliver honey-like trills on the songs from her two mix tapes—still beautiful, despite the fact that she was losing her voice—and positive affirmations for her fans. After singing about self-love on the gospel-infused “Bright,” she asked, “You know how powerful it is that a group of young people be singing these words?” She complemented a front-row fan on her bag and hat, encouraging the rest of her #TsunamiMob to spread love when they get home. “If nothing else, remember these three sentences,” she said. “Know and love yourself. Know and love God, whichever God you choose to know and love. And know that I’m dropping an album at the top of next year,” giving one more reason for Kehlani fans to feel the love. ★★★✩✩

Set List
You Should Be Here
How That Taste
Preach (Drake cover with Ambre Perkins)
Legend (Drake cover)
Get Away
Deserve Better
How We Do Us
Act a Fool
As I Am
Till the Morning
Runnin’ (Interlude)
Down for You
Be Alright
The Way

Photos by Linda Evans

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