Our review of starRo’s intimate spectacle featuring Jarell Perry and vōx at The Lyric Theatre, Los Angeles.
Her delicate, porcelain figure stood on stage veiled in white, her pearly palms channeling The Madonna (the painted icon). As she howled, uncovered, and rolled her body across the floor, she channeled another Madonna (the pop icon). Vōx is image driven and experimental. The movement of her Botticelli form, combined with dirty beats and progressive production were, in a word, hypnotizing. Part of her is conscious of her appeal, which makes it more fun. As she stands alone singing, “Better to be hated, you still know my name,” you are sucked in. Performing alone and bare is bold, and it is clear that vōx is fearless. Minimal may be trendy, but it isn’t easy.
Friday was Perry’s first show with live musicians. But, you’d never know it. The integration of strings, percussion, and voice were symbiotic. Projections painted the stage in watercolor, adding more texture to a set that blossomed emotionally. His voice was smooth and still raw, telling the stories captured in his beautifully exposed songs. Perry never held back; he sang, “I’m giving you the best of me,” and you knew it was true. He revealed to me that he had compiled enough content over the course of his career to select and curate a truly special set. He wanted to create an experience that hit as many senses as possible. “Everything is a step into the future,” he explained. Perry constructed a mood that seemed to reflect how he feels about his craft. “Music is therapy,” he told the crowd. He was right. It was a collective catharsis.
I am certain that the composition of the music I heard was complex beyond my understanding, and that the training and thought process of each artist and musician was complicated and deep. But, what I experienced last night during starRo’s set was really really simple: an exceptional group of people giving you an exceptional show. An abundance of surprise artists flowed on and off stage keeping you on your toes with constant stimulation. Not a single moment was predictable and there was absolutely no time to get comfortable. Sometimes we were dancing and rocking our hips. Sometimes we were head banging and jumping up and down. Sometimes we were singing, well, screaming in unison. It was a family affair. When I arrived at the venue, starRo was as humble and joyful as ever. He expressed his surprise that the tickets sold out. I expressed my surprise at his surprise. I knew it would sell out. This kind of show won’t be playing small venues for long. As the silent conductor of a new age orchestra, starRo created an experience unlike any other. It takes a special kind of visionary to bring together that much talent and direct it into greatness. Jarell Perry mentioned that his collaborations with starRo always drew “a certain kind of crowd.” This meant people open to art, open to experimentation, open to anything. Periodically throughout the night, I would peek behind me to check out the packed crowd. I saw people genuinely enjoying themselves. The pleasure was heightened by the fact that we were participating in a moment that was both intimate and communal. It was easy for us to be open, ready, and receptive because we knew it was all so worth it; we knew we were in good hands.