Having produced one of this year’s promising debut albums in the form of Miss Universe, Nilüfer Yanya’s headline show at Thekla couldn’t be more anticipated. On an extensive tour to promote the release, the artist alongside her accompanied band, featuring Lucy Lu (bassist), Ellis Duply (drummer) and Jazzi Bobbi (saxiphonist) bring the beautifully honest, rich and lyrically complexing project to life in front of a humble live audience, with key moments of magic, warmth and clarity.
Nilüfer Yanya’s performance shifts in moments with the presence of the group providing a dynamic and distinctive backbone to the set. Songs such as ‘Angels’, ‘Tears’ and ‘Baby Luv’ flow effortlessly as melodic sequences of guitar strings, drums and saxophone in addition to Yanya’s honest storytelling compel all senses into her world. Meanwhile, old gems like ‘Golden Cage’ from EP Plant Feed present her more adventurous/jazzier side with Bobbi’s collaborations of late showing its spark, delivering a relaxing tone to this Friday evening. Although very welcoming, the soothing instruments and Yanya’s delicate vocals often feel too lax with the crowd standing in silence for the majority of the set before springing back to life when the raspy ‘In Your Head’ kicks in. Following up with ‘Heavyweight Champion Of The Year’ soon after, Nilüfer Yanya and her band collectively wrap things up in splendid fashion as we all sways and cheer to their musical fruition.
Tonight was certainly not an explosive performance, but an appreciation of Nilüfer Yanya’s multi-genre collection packed with vast songwriting and talent that you can’t help but love. Miss Universe is music that’s coming up in the world with life-changing moments that’ll determine the next steps for the promising artist.