Concert Reviews

Jhene Aiko at Sound Academy

Following her role as an opening act for recent tours with Drake and The Weeknd, Jhene Aiko was ready to sail out on her own.  Last month, the now Grammy nominated singer-songwriter announced on Twitter her headline tour, “Enter the Void” which includes newcomer SZA as the supporting act.  And Lucky for us, Toronto was the only Canadian date on this tour. 

Before Aiko graced us with her presence, electro R&B vocalist SZA warmed up the crowd with a mesmerizing opener of “UR”.  The Cali-based resident is the latest contender that has been generating buzz on social media. With her deliciously raspy voice and fresh beats, SZA has all the materials of a star in the making.  Live performances of “Babylon” and “Warm Winds” showcased the singer’s confidence.  “I’m not shy anymore” she claims as she owns the stage with her sizzling dance moves which included a snippet of O.T. Genasis’s “Coco” to an approving crowd. SZA may be young but she knows who she is and was a favourable choice for this tour.

By the time Aiko took the stage, things were running behind schedule which made the crowd grew anxious. Speculation (and hope) of Toronto’s own, Drake might be the reason for the hold up. As the twinkling keys and tumbling drums begins to play, those uneasy feelings were put to rest as Aiko opens up with “Limbo Limbo Limbo”. The 26-year-old brought the good vibes with her melodic and ethereal energy. The 70 minute set was consisted of hits from Sailing Soul(s), Sail Out, and Souled Out.  

The lack of up-tempo tracks might turn some away, but Aiko’s authentic stage presence and poetic lyrics creates a cohesive production. She and her five- piece band wowed the crowd with performances of “To Love and Die”, “Bed Peace”, “Lyin King”, and “Do Better Blues”. But it was her deliverance of “W.A.Y.S.”  –  a song based on one of the last tweets by her late brother – that showed how lyrically superior she really is. Aiko wanted the audience to know these shows are like therapy, a chance to share her story with the best listeners – her fans. Throughout the night she enlightened the crowd with her concise stories about love, loss, and rising above it all.

Despite not having Drake make an appearance for her performance of “From Time”, Aiko magnetic charm was more than enough for the Toronto crowd.  She soul out with fan favorite, “The Worst”, a solid ending “Enter the Void”.

About author

Administrator by day, concert writer by night. When she isn’t writing reviews, Tashana often spends time exploring the city or is at home watching a good drama on television. You can check her out on Twitter @tbilley.