Pay attention because the powerhouse that is Adia Victoria has arrived. Brimming with youth and vitality, a voice both sweet and sticky that opens doors to southern rock and blues, Victoria is an imposing force. And during nearly 40 minutes on Friday, her unique sound was heard loud and clear.
Opening her headlining show at Johnny Brenda’s with a song revealing her name and the rock strut of her tightknit group (including guitarist Mason Hickman, bassist Jason Harris and drummer Tiffany Minton) is a great introduction. With only a three-song EP released thus far – Sea of Sand – she has a strong musical foundation. “Stuck in The South” is a slow-burn firecracker. And “Howlin’ Shame,” which Victoria dedicated on Friday to Sandra Bland, displays the breadth of vision Victoria has. Entering the ears with the unlikely context of Portishead’s haunting melodies and taking the listener to a place of violence against women, it transfixes the audience.
Another key ingredient in Victoria’s musical arsenal is her active social awareness and feminism. In addition to the Bland reference, she dropped in pieces of “Strange Fruit” at one point during the night. And in a rare moment in live music, she called out some men who were talking during the show and told them they should leave if they would rather talk. Her social media presence shows off this confident and powerful message even more so, with her messages about Black Lives Matter and fighting the objectification of modern men.
A heady and startling mix of muses for sure, Adia Victoria is a new voice that demands to be and certainly will be heard.
Philadelphia indie rockers Church Girls opened with a strong set. They were playing a birthday show before going back into the studio to record more music.