Jhené Aiko’s Performance at SXSW Was Beautiful in Absolutely Every Sense of the Word THOUGHTS+PHOTOS: JHENÉ AIKO @ THE MOHAWK | SXSW 3/13/18
AUSTIN, TX- For most of our SXSW artist coverage, we’ll keep it relatively short and sweet. We have over 80 artists to cover, so cut us some slack! 😉 We’ll basically be formatting each post into two parts: (1) Why our contributor wanted to see this act and (2) what our contributor thought of the performance. Easy peasy. If you want to learn more about the act, make sure you click through to their social media links to get in the know. You won’t be disappointed!
Why I Wanted To See Jhene Aiko: Day 2 of SXSW took a completely different turn for me as soon as I learned via the social media channels that Jhené Aiko was going to be performing at a venue that’s essentially a large backyard. She usually sells out concert halls with capacity of several thousands, so getting a chance to be up close and personal for a Jhene Aiko show was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. Aiko has worked with some of the biggest names in hip-hop and although I haven’t really listened much to her solo work, I knew she would be an amazing act.
What I Thought Of Jhene Aiko’s Performance: The Mohawk was packed to the brim in anticipation of Jhené’s performance with a few hundred eager and increasingly less sober by-the-minute girls. Aiko is a very expressive and artistic singer, incorporating themes of love, passion, and her femininity, so it was no surprise that the set decoration included very large fake roses placed throughout the stage. Her band accompaniment included a girl playing the harp and a guy on keyboard; the rest was her soothing and sweet voice.
Aiko’s music is a hip-hop and R&B blend with beats that drove the audience to dance despite extremely compact quarters. Her cult-like fan following was in full display throughout the show as the hoards of girls in attendance were screaming and shoving each other to try and touch her hand anytime she got remotely close to the crowd. Next to me was a girl who held up a Jhené Aiko book for the entire concert in hopes of Aiko recognizing it and getting it signed (the girl actually got a shout-out but didn’t get the book signed).
What I loved about the performance aside from her crowd engagement was the exceptional smoothness of her voice. When she sang it seemed so effortless, yet powerful enough to connect with you to be immersed in it. I was mesmerized really by Jhené’s entire presence on stage. She moved with a grace that was sensual yet poised, and when she sang it radiated through the entire venue. I’m so glad that I rearranged my schedule on Day 2 to catch this wonderful performer do her thing, and I recommend that anyone and everyone go check her out when she’s on tour in your neck of the woods.