Arlo Parks makes The Wiltern feel super intimate

Arlo Parks Wiltern 2024 EH mainbar

I’ve been in love with the sound of London-based Arlo Parks ever since first hearing her debut single “Cola” five and a half years ago. Her down-tempo R&B production and intimate and vulnerable songwriting and vocal style caught my attention immediately. It’s been amazing to watch her continue to rise to being one of the best young songwriters of her generation, and at The Wiltern on Saturday night, the glow-up continued.

Though much to my chagrin she seems to have ditched “Cola” many years ago, the material that’s made up her first two studio albums has continued down that path of excellence. Touring in support of last year’s tremendous sophomore effort My Soft Machine, Arlo Parks had the crowd in the palm of her hand.

Seven of the songs from that latest record made its way into her set, with “Weightless” and “Blades” kicking things off. She wasted little time giving fans a great cover of Jai Paul’s “Jasmine” a couple songs later, and then weaved through the new record as well as her awesome debut full-length effort Collapsed in Sunbeams, which somehow is already three years old.

Those that were hoping for a Phoebe Bridgers drop-in for their duet on “Pegasus” were disappointed, but the song still sounded so beautiful with just Arlo Parks singing.

The 23-year-old Arlo Parks has really grown as a performer since I first saw her open for Clairo a couple years ago. And her sound has grown even more. She closed her set with the almost rock n roll banger “Devotion” before returning to the stage for an encore of the yearning and fragile “Softly”, which isn’t on either of those records. Every person in the audience seemed to be obsessed with the whole catalog, and how couldn’t you be?

I can’t wait to see what Arlo Parks has in store for us as the years continue.

Opening up the show was talented songwriter to the stars Chloe George, who has written for the likes of Dua Lipa, BLACKPINK, and Hayley Kiyoko. Now striking out fully on her own, George just dropped a must-listen EP called A Cheetah Hunting in Slow Motion. The songs sounded great live and I am looking forward to seeing her headline in the future.

Words by Mark Ortega
Photos by Eric Han