Sur Ellz Was “Magic” for Red Bull Sound Select’s “30 Days In LA” REVIEW+PHOTOS: Sur Ellz @ Bootleg Theater 11/12/16 For Red Bull Sound Select's 30 Days In LA
It was night 12 of Red Bull Sound Select’s “30 Days in LA” concert series, and my first night covering one of these events. Red Buull took over The Bootleg Theater and it was my very first time attending this intimate little venue.
When I arrived early, there was already a small line forming. As they started allowing guests inside, I discovered that Red Bull had set up a little lounge like area complete with ambient lighting that really set the mood, comfortable furniture, music, a full bar and artwork by Erin Garcia being projected on a large white wall covering half the room with bright colors. We were in this room for about an hour before they opened the doors to the actual theater.
Khalil Arcady p/k/a “Sur Ellz” was the first act to take the stage. Though I wasn’t familiar with his music prior to this performance, this 23 year old artist from Denver, Colorado impressed me. Listing the likes of Prince, Timbaland, J Dilla, Pharell, and Florence + the Machine as his main influences, his music was both soulful and upbeat.
The ensemble he had on stage consisted of him, a drummer, a DJ and an additional percussionist. The performance started off with slower ballads filled with Ellz’s amazing vocals, synths and those good ol’ booms and baps that drive through most R&B songs. When the second percussionist jumped in to give the futuristic soundscapes they were building a more tribal/dance feel, out came Sur Ellz’s back up dancers in an amazing choreographed act that really brought the whole performance together.
As Sur Ellz played songs off his latest EP, “Magic”, which came out in 2015, Ellz gave a heartfelt speech about his gratitude for being able to be a part of the night and that his entire set was dedicated to his late mother who passed away after a battle with breast cancer with he was only 11. Sur Ellz brought such an amazing energy that most opening acts don’t bring. He put his heart on his sleeve, performing with such passion and ferocity that definitely set the bar pretty high for the rest of the evening.