When approaching the Riviera Theatre on Sunday night, the line wrapped around the entire southwest end of the building. Chicagoans were obviously ready and eager to immerse themselves in James Blake's Assume Form tour, hitting 18 cities in America this year. Before the strong vocalist and electronic producer came out onstage, a longtime friend and creator known as Khushi warmed up the crowd.
Legally known as Kalim Patel, you might recognize him from the band Strong Asian Mothers. Taking both his childhood friends and nickname "Khushi" to the spotlight, the group produced upbeat electronic, pop music infused with hip-hop beats, layered vocals, and synths. A little funky and guaranteed to make you bop to the tune, Khushi lends his beautiful vocal range and musical dexterity to this project. But as a soloist, he emits much more personal and emotional energy.
Through the eyes of Spotify and Apple Music, he is classified as indie rock, but to box such a unique sound that he brings together as one genre seems to cut his work short. One can hear in his latest released how he has departed from the full band sound present in Phantoms EP, which has developed into more electronica driven harmonies and vocals tinged with effects.
Although both he and Blake take the same approach to stage their stage presence, letting their body language recreate an emotional experience for fans; Khushi commands certain attention with his particular detail to how he performs the songs set to make up his debut album. When he performs the single, from his set-to-release album, "Freedom Falls" followed by "Children," a sense of destiny and excitement fills the air. The crowd looked on in an almost reverent manner during the climax. Concert-goers made a conscious effort to give him the space he needed sonically to give his everything. Overall, an atmospheric tone combined with a perfectly modulated voice, silvery and pleasant to the ear, primed the crowd well and left Khushi with some new fans in Chicago.
Check out the rest of Khushi's tracklist from the Chicago dates and keep an eye out them on his debut, solo album set to release soon:
- In Love With It All
- Freedom Falls
- From Me
- Call To Arms
- Sane Man
- Like A City