'Always spinning and idyllically maneuvering around the tiny stage, her presence felt nothing short of entirely authentic, summery, and lit in golden light...'
Evan Dale // Sep 14, 2019
A trichotomy of breweries and distilleries, dispensaries and marijuana grow operations, restaurants and venues define Denver, Colorado’s River North neighborhood. And like that balance, New York R&B soulstress, Raveena is triangulated by feminine strength, sexuality, and acceptance. It was only fitting that her show took place at the Globe Hall. The location is about a 60/40 separation of space favoring barbecue over an intimate venue; dim-lit food and drink over dimmer-lit live music. It’s a quintessential small hall, and Raveena’s crowd was quintessentially hers that night.
Past the sole door separating the Globe’s two identities, we found ourselves surrounded by a small crowd adorning jewelry, throwback fashion, and faux fur. Just like the stylistic choices of the woman we all came to see, the room was one of unapologetic self-love, self-expression, and uniqueness. Even for a small R&B show, the vibe was particularly mellow. And why wouldn’t it be? Raveena’s sound is airwave Xanax – or maybe musical mushroom micro-dosing – something she’d likely be much more on board with. Signature small stage pale purple and red spotlights coupled with plush-inspired, inflatable flower luminosities and hand-painted mushroom statuettes set a tone of positivity and youthful exuberance one would be hard-pressed to find at any other concert.
Raveena is the kind of figure masterful in encapsulating an audience. Before she even set foot on stage, the room was abuzz with discussions on music, meditation, and the coalescence of each: her debut album, Lucid. The project – long-awaited for her dedicated fanbase and for fans of R&B and neo-soul – has been one of 2019’s most important and one-of-a-kind. And it’s only bound to become more influential as the tenants of an ever-expanding neo-soul realm continue to take shape. Her entirely peaceful, warm, and calming take on the style is hers alone. It’s an auditory aesthetic that undoubtedly draws from Motown and soul, from classic R&B, as well as from instrumentation and thematic discourse of her South Asian roots, but is tied seamlessly together into a sound unlike anyone else in music’s past or present. That sound is made for the personal connection of the comfortable neighborhood theater.
With only a trio of backing instrumentalists weaving dynamic yet simple funk and soul foundations with a keyboard, a drumkit, and a bass, Raveena stood between her two flower lights to share the shine with everyone else on stage and everyone in the audience. She took breaks from sipping tea and serenading her new friends to host a minute of blissful meditation, discuss her pointedly positivist point of views, and attempt to convert us all for at least the length of the show to something resembling her own charming contentment.
For more than an hour, she danced through her canon, blending the sounds of Lucid into the earlier work that got her name out there in the first place. Sweet Time, If Only, and Honey all earned an expected response from a room that very clearly knew her work through and through. Standout tracks from Lucid like Stronger and Still Dreaming got the same. And at no point did her velvety voice falter. It shone even brighter than it does over the airwaves – garnering a more cherished imperfection and range in person.
And even for an artist of such mellow and collected vibes, Raveena had no issue delivering some bright energy to an audience that never stopped swaying with her. Always spinning and idyllically maneuvering around the tiny stage, her presence felt nothing short of entirely authentic, summery, and lit in golden light. It was like seeing one of her home-grown music videos come to life through the duration of a set. Even the concert’s encore, Mamaleft us all swimming in the serotonin of Raveena’s rarely experienced manifestation.
Still so early on in a career coming to define the softest and most thematically timeless edge of R&B and Neo-Soul, Raveena’s exposure is booming. She’s becoming a star the likes of which the vocal-dominated traditions have never quite seen. And in an era of balance and acceptance, the opportunity to catch her at an intimate venue is one not to miss.