Live Concert Photography: Alice Phoebe Lou with L.A. Salami at Rough Trade 3/8/19
I’ve written a bit about the Cape Town, South Africa-born, Berlin, Germany-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Alice Phoebe Lou over the past year, and as you may recall Lou grew up in a creative home — her parents were documentary filmmakers, who took a young Lou to piano lessons. As a teenager, Lou taught herself guitar; but by the summer she turned 16, she went on a life-altering trip to Paris to visit her aunt. While in Paris, armed with an acoustic guitar, the young artist met some of that cit’s buskers and street performers — eventually learning poi dancing from some of them.
After completing her studies, Lou returned to Europe, first landing in Amsterdam, where she made money as a poi dancer. She then relocated to Berlin, where she quickly developed a reputation as a well-regarded busker and for a fierce, punk rock-like DIY approach to her musical career. With the release of 2014’s self-released debut EP, the Cape Town-born, Berlin-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist began to receive national and international attention, which resulted in performances at a number of TED events in London and Berlin during the following year.
Lou’s sophomore effort, 2016’s Orbit was nominated for Best Female Artist at that year’s German Critics’ Choice Awards. And building upon a rapidly growing profile both nationally and internationally, she played at the 27th Annual Conference for the Professional Business Women of California, which featured keynote speakers Venus Williams, Judy Smith, and Memory Banda and shared bills with Sixto Rodriguez, Boy & Bear, and Allen Stone before ending the year with three, sold-out multimedia events at the Berlin Planetarium. (The Berlin Planetarium shows were so popular and in such high demand that she had to add two additional shows there to her tour schedule in 2017.)
Additionally, the live version of “She” amassed over 4 million views on YouTube and was featured in the major motion picture Bombshell: The Heady Lamar Story — all before the studio version of the single was even recorded or released. But for most of 2018, Lou worked on her Noah Georgeson-produced sophomore effort Paper Castles, which was released earlier this year. And as Lou explains, the album is “about nostalgia, about growing into a woman, about the pain and beauty of the past, about feeling small and insignificant but finding that to be powerful and beautiful, about acknowledging that childhood is over but bringing some of it with you.”
Now. as you may recall Lou spent much of March on a North American tour, which included a stop at Rough Trade last night that was primarily centered around the material from Paper Castles, including the album’s slow-burning 70s-inspired first single “Something Holy,” a track that is a deeply introspective and unvarnished look into the narrator’s complicated and uneasy relationships with sex, love, men and even herself. Interestingly, her Rough Trade set revealed an artist, who can easily play with and blur genre lines with a deft touch, soulfulness and wisdom that belie her relative youth. Opening the night was the London-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist L.A. Salami.
I should mention that Lou is currently on the European leg of the tour to support Paper Castles, so check out the tour dates below, followed by photos from her Rough Trade show with L.A. Salami.
April 15 – Manchester, UK – Deaf Institute
April 16 – Nottingham, UK – Bodega
April 17 – London, UK – Earth
April 18 – Bristol, UK – Thekla
April 20 – Utrecht, ND – Tivoli
April 21 – Amsterdam, ND – Zonnehuis
April 23 – Aachen, DE – Kulturbunker
April 24 – Brussels, BE – Botanique
April 26 – Vienna, AT – Flex
April 28 – Prague, CZ – Futrum
April 29 – Erlangen, DE – E-Werk
May 1 – Friberg, DE – Jazzhaus
May 2 – Munich, DE – Ampere
May 3 – Zurich, CH – Bogen F
May 4 – Stuttgart, DE – Im Wizemann
May 6 – Cologne, DE – Kulturkirche
May 7 – Mainz, DE – Kuz
May 8 -Kiel, DE – Pumpe
May 9 – Copenhagen, DK – Vega
May 11 – Berlin, DE – Columbiahalle
Born Lookman Adekunle Salami, the London-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist L.A. Salami grew up in foster care and can trace the origins of his music career to a lifelong fascination with music. Interestingly, he received his big break when he was chosen to open for Liane La Havas on tour back in 2012.
As a result of a growing profile, London-based indie label Camouflage Recordings signed him and released his debut EP 2013’s Another Shade of Blue and 2014’s sophomore EP, The Prelude, which was followed by a short British tour. Adding to the growing buzz surrounding him, Salami caught the attention of Christopher Bailey, the Chief Creative Officer at Burberry, who asked him to soundtrack their Spring/Summer 2014 Menswear campaign and to open their runway show at Kensington Palace Gardens, Hyde Park. Along with that, Zane Lowe referred to him as a future star on his BBC Radio 1 show, while Esquire Magazine featured Salami as one of ten “Most Stylish Men in Music.”
The following year, the British singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist signed to Sunday Best Recordings and Domino Publishing before spending the rest of the year working on his Matt Ingram-produced full-length debut, 2016’s Dancing With Bad Grammar, an effort that featured “The City Nowadays“, “I Wear This Because Life Is War!“, “Going Mad As The Street Bins” and “I Can’t Slow Her Down.” 2017 saw the release of his sophomore album The City of Bootmakers, which featured “Generation L(ost)” and “Jean Is Gone.“
Salami’s set was a career-spanning set featuring some of the most thoughtful, heartbreaking and downright wittiest material I’ve heard in some time.