Nao with Xavier Omar at the Santa Ana Observatory on January 20th, 2019
Nao didn’t wait long after the release of her sophomore effort, Saturn, to begin touring again. Embarking on a stateside run before touring in her own home country of Europe, she was greeted with eager fans, many of which have been waiting years to see the songstress perform again. The last time I saw her was at the same venue, nearly three years prior, opening for her labelmate and collaborator Mura Masa. Although I devoured her latest album the second it came out, I had reservations about it being up to par with For All We Know. After the slow, trickling release of several singles including “If You Ever”, “Another Lifetime”, and “Make It Out Alive”, I was praying that she didn’t release all her best songs right away because I was thoroughly in love with each song so far. After the album dropped, “Orbit”, “Drive and Disconnect” and “Curosity” were sure signs that she had another solid album on her hands. From the astrological elements to lyrics about self growth and pondering over past lovers, Saturn is a spectacle to be marveled at.
In her performance, she brought the album to life with balloons both displayed behind her band and those that she passed out to the crowd. She even begins her set immersed in the crowd, standing on a small platform singing “Another Lifetime”; the perfect ballad to make even a large venue feel intimate. Her show was scattered with plenty of dance breaks and moments of singing to her fans. Even with her petite stature and dainty voice, she lights up the room with her radiating energy. I brought a few friends who weren’t all too familiar with Nao’s music to the show and by the end they walked away in utter awe of what they just saw. Even the security guards at the venue were astounded by her talent; several even applauded during her encore.
Nao is truly a force to be reckon with. Saturn is the perfect display of how consistently good she is at what she does. Give Saturn a few rotations, take a glance at her video for “Make It Out Alive”, and I’m positive you’ll become just as entranced with Nao as I am.
Photos and Words by Summer Dos Santos