[Concert Review] Andra Day Rocks ‘The Casbah’ in San Diego

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What a night…

Before I go into my experience at Andra Day’s homecoming performance at The Casbah the other night, let me give a brief run down of how I discovered this budding songstress.

About a month ago, I had seen an ad on YouTube’s homepage that caught my eye. It was a “Beat x Beat” episode titled, “Andra Day ‘Rise Up'”. Unfamiliar with her at the time, a combination of the Beats by Dre stamp, the unique name and powerful song title is what, ultimately, baited a click from me.

“Before I record any and every song, I pray about every song, because my goal is not just to make music that makes people dance, which is fine, but my goal is to make music that moves people and resonates with them, spiritually.”  – Andra Day

After this fortuitous discovery, I immediately wanted to hear more. I then found her YouTube channel, which contained a few song covers as well as some offerings from her debut album, “Cheers to the Fall.” Once I heard “Gin & Juice (Let Go My Hand),” “Rearview,” and “Gold”…I was hooked. My love for her was cemented when I found out she was also a San Diego native (anyone who knows me will tell you I always support the home team).

Fast forward to the night of November 11th. We arrive at the venue at approximately 9:30 PM, since The Casbah’s Facebook page had announced earlier that day Andra would take the stage at 9:45 PM. We strode down the hall, banked a right, and promptly surveyed the room for prospect vantage points and decided to plant ourselves on the furthest side of the room near the bar, right next to the left side of the stage. As room capacity gradually reached its max and signs of intoxication started becoming more apparent in some of the patrons near us, I was eager for Andra to take the stage. But, I was not the only one…

When 10 PM rolled around, the feeling of anticipation was palpable. The fans closest to center stage had begun to chant “Andra, Andra, Andra!”, this lasted for about 30 seconds, give or take. 10 or 15 minutes later, their calls were answered. To our left, we saw her band walk through the door, up to the stage, and wasting no time, they manned their respective stations. Seconds after the instrumentation for the first song of the night rang through the venue, in came the woman of the hour…

“Gold”

An upbeat track where she uses the metaphor of “trading gold for grains of sand” to channel a story of heartbreak and infidelity. Besides her obvious talent, the energy she projected was infectious. Soon, she had the whole crowd under her spell as we watched, captivated. A fantastic choice that set the tone for the evening.

“Only Love”

One of my favorites by her. At this point in the concert, I was floored by her vocal skills. There was virtually no difference between listening to her music live than on my iPod, in my opinion. Watching as she did her signature “hand wave” type move and carelessly twisted her facial expressions, one could easily tell she felt every lyric she spoke.

Side Note: Forgive me for some of the shorter clips; I was trying to enjoy the show, haha.

“Gin & Juice (Let Go My Hand)”

This may be my favorite performance from that night. I love the soothing Blues vibe of this song and she delivered it flawlessly.

“A Change Is Gonna Come” Cover

This man deserves an honorary mention. After a brief intermission where she spoke to the audience and introduced her band, Andra’s keyboard player (whose name escapes me) belted a very moving rendition of Sam Cooke’s, “A Change Is Gonna Come.”

“Rise Up”

And, of course, the song that took her career to the next level. She really showcased her vocal range on this one, and the audience clung to her every word as they sang along.

“City Burns”

After a solid hour and some change into the show, she concluded it with this song. Andra informed us this was her “baby” on the album. Again, she effortlessly delivered a soulful punch that deservedly received a round of applause.

All in all, it was a stellar performance. My sentiments about three-quarters of the way through the show were the same as what Instagram user @martindalefuller expressed, “Felt like a soulful church…”. It was well worth the price of admission and I, for one, would certainly have paid more. The relatively small club venue made this concert feel like more of an intimate gathering shared between a rising artist and her friends, family, and fans. Besides her undeniable talent, Andra has a cool, genuine personality. This was apparent by her constant interaction with fans during and between songs and when her set had finished, she leaned down and took a selfie with one of her fans as well as talked with, shook hands, and hugged others. If it’s not her talent that ensures her longevity in the music biz, it’s definitely her love and appreciation of her fans. She has the recipe, and the best part is, it comes naturally. In a city where very few have managed to break out, it’s so great that an artist like Andra is getting that opportunity and puts on for us. I’ll be attending every show possible from this day forth. If you’re a music lover, be sure to check out one of her shows and get her debut album, “Cheers to the Fall.”

*** Here’s footage of some of her other performances from that night, including: her “Mississippi Goddam” cover, her “Is This Love?” and “Could You Be Loved” covers, her “Lose Yourself” cover, “Goodbye Goodnight,” “Mistakes,” and “Forever Mine.”

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