There’s a frenzied unpredictability to Adia Victoria — it what makes her performances so captivating. It’s like an underlying current of electricity that bursts unexpectedly through her trademark soft and raspy vocals. And just as quickly as it comes, it disappears with a sweet smile, but is left with traces of daggers in her eyes.
It’s this undeniable swagger and confidence that oozes through the slinky, unsettling songs of Victoria’s acclaimed album, Beyond the Bloodhounds — which she entranced the XPN Fest crowd with today. Armed with a guitar and commanding vocals, Victoria strays from sugar-coated, predominantly white country music depictions of Southern life by unapologetically describing the harsh realities of living as a black woman in the South.
This was explored in track “Howlin’ Shame,” which Victoria dedicated to Sandra Bland and Black Lives Matter, before easing into the slower, eerie track. Packed between big and dark atmospheric vibes, this track slowed things down for an incredibly impacting moment, but still tip-toed along to performance’s overall twangy, demonic essence.
Victoria also took the time to pay vengeful tribute to past lovers that she described as rhyming with “duck boys” in the fuzzed out, hard-hitting track “Head Rot.” If there’s one thing I learned from watching her bewitching and powerful set today, crossing Adia Victoria is the last thing I would advise doing.
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