AlunaGeorge gets up close and personal at Troubadour

AlunaGeorge Troubadour 2018 mainbar

The last time I saw AlunaGeorge, it was last March at CRSSD Fest. It was a festival main stage, and it felt as though I couldn’t hear Aluna Francis clearly from the back of the crowd. Previous to that, I had seen the duo do a full live setup as part of Red Bull’s #30DaysInLA a couple years ago. At that show, they had brought out an entire brass section for a trio of songs, which blew me away.

Wednesday at the Troubadour, it was just Francis on stage with producer George Reid in a corner. Francis kicked things off with the title track from their new EP Champagne Eyes. It was just her in a swagged-out lab coat with an electric guitar hanging in front of her. Francis’ vocals really resonated, coupled only by a simple guitar riff.

She had the packed room hooked as soon as she kicked things up a notch with old favorite “Not Above Love”. The anthem “Mean What I Mean” was another standout before delving back into this year’s new material. “Famous” is going to be fun hearing remixed every which way over the next year. “Superior Emotion” has a sorta trip-R&B feel (is that a thing?) that I dig.

She immediately made clear this was going to be a really personal and visceral performance. Behind her was a bedside table with a lit lamp, a teddy bear, and more to represent we were in her bedroom.

Francis weaved through the alt-R&B duo’s brief but spectacular discography with ease. The intimacy of the show lent itself to the sparse arrangements and let the crowd feel more than at an outdoor festival main stage.

“This is our first tour as an independent,” Francis said excitedly. It’s become more common to see acts joyously celebrate their autonomy. She also mentioned enjoying the size of the famed Troubadour and its “house party” appeal. She got deep on “Outlines” being about the difficulty comforting someone who just lost someone close to them, calling it her favorite song.

On the ZHU collaboration “Automatic”, the crowd got low on their own as the bass cut through it like a knife.┬áThe Bryson Tiller collab from the new EP “Cold Blooded Creatures” was another standout. It featured Francis playing keyboards in a stripped-down version that put the crowd in their feelings.

AlunaGeorge is the rare kind of act that produces dance-club bangers as often as they make slow sex jams. It makes for an interesting contrast and takes you two different places that somehow complement each other.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Tim Aarons