Selah Sue belongs in the O2 arena. But for now, at least she conquered Roxy
On the day when Czech rock fans were supposed to celebrate the genius of Shinedown again after years, due to the cancellation of their tour, music fans were offered two tempting alternatives. In the Lucerna Music Bar, the record “V” was christened by the house MYDY, while Roxy offered the Belgian praline Selah Sue. We elected her.
Live: Selah Sue
place: Roxy, Prague
date: November 21, 2022
set list: Just Because I Do, Black Part Love, I Wanted You To Know, Catch My Drift, Raggamuffin, Right Where I Want You, Always, All The Way Down, Free Fall, Alone, Together, Kingdom, Peace Of Mind, Pills, Fayah Fayah, You, This World
The photo is for illustrative purposes only, we did not have photographers at the concert. If you want to take photos for us, contact us at [email protected]
Why Selah Sue? Because it is rarer. Which is new – years ago she was with us every now and then. But those times are gone, and since she didn’t plan to go to Brno this time, it would be possible to see if the fans have forgotten her a little. After all, she last played for us in 2016, and that’s a really long time ago. That evening, she was out-jumped by then-starter Emma Smetana at the same venue and it was, um, “nice”. This time Zea drew the lucky card. Here, people include compliments under the videos on YouTube mainly because of her appearance, but as it soon became clear, she also has other advantages. It is nice that Alžběta Ferencová, as the former Miss Slovakia participant is called, was also at the mentioned Selah Sue concert. And as she let herself be heard, it was thanks to her that at that time, still a professional dancer, she decided to try to break through with music as well. And she did well, because what she created with her three-piece band is definitely worth listening to. The debut album “Burning Light”, which is named after the song of the same name, which deals with the search for a glimmer of hope, was already released in 2020, and hopefully the next one will be at least two minutes longer. This is so that she can fight her way into the nominations for the Angel Awards, because you want to vote for something like that. Her music is on the border between pop and r’n’b and has a world sound and you, dear reader, find her, so that on her instagram the singer can continue to share information about music and she doesn’t have to sell ointments there instead like her other colleagues, which I don’t care about anyway. And although her work ranks among the best that is produced in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, she presents herself very sympathetically and modestly, which is the exact opposite of Aiko, who sang at the same venue about a month ago. The allotted time in such great company passed quickly, but the audience included Zea with a well-deserved applause. And if she herself is now reading these lines and wondering if she will lie to her parents again next time and tell them that everything is fine, even though she herself is still full of doubts (at least she admitted it in one of the interviews), I would like to send her a message following: “Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re on the right track.”
And by the way, Selah Sue is also on that one. She has developed from reaggae songs with an acoustic guitar, with which she performed many years ago at Rock For People, for example, into a versatile artist who is so great that she should easily hold the O2 arena. She would have to be born in Great Britain or the USA, that is, in countries that can push their horses everywhere, and not in fart Belgium. With a proper music business behind her, her name could be as resounding today as, for example, that of Amy Winehouse, who is close in style. But be careful with those genres, because the gradual evolution of today’s thirty-three-year-old musician has meant that Bowie’s is the most suitable for her when compared to the musical chameleon. But before we explain it, we must pay tribute to her excellent backing band, which played fantastically and which also includes three great female vocalists. And thanks to them, it was clear that Selah jumped to the next level musically with her new record “Persona”. With the opening “Just Since I Do” it was not so visible yet, moreover, the protagonist herself remained to sing most of the songs secretly from behind the scenes, but as we worked our way forward with the setlist, it was clear that things had been going on here since the last performance. Personally, I wouldn’t need other musical styles and only ballads would be enough for me. But even if the folk-soul favorites “Summertime” or “Fear Nothing” (although we were close here and the Leefdaal native lied when she said she’d never played it) didn’t happen, it was still a great concert. In fact, the very best she has ever played in our region. She sang “Right Where I Want You” like a gentle, repetitive mantra with just her female vocalists, but then transitioned into a slow “Always” and that was the number of the night. The raspy voice created an inconspicuous yet strong pressure, and thus penetrated the hearts of the listeners, while the faces were covered with tears of emotion. But you had to be present at the performance to appreciate it, it is not so cold in the studio form. But that was always true for this woman. They don’t dazzle on the records, but they do live. And she showed up twice during the hour and a half long set. For example, “Free Fall” is the type of song that you don’t even notice on the album. Live before her, the musician changed into a satin bathrobe with a feline pattern and together with the vocalists demonstrated what it would probably look like if Destiny’s Child got back together and were four again. And the bass player and the guitarist gave them a great solo.
About “Together” Selah lied that they hadn’t played it yet, while she sang it a month and a half ago, for example, in her native Belgium. But that doesn’t matter, because we haven’t heard such a funky anthem from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, with a great dance number, in Prague for a long time. In “Kingdom” she tripped over gospel clapping for a change and soon after, the singer showed that she can rap like MIA. Perhaps the biggest surprise was waiting for fans during the track “Pills”, which closed the main part. The single from the new studio deals with depression and stupidity, which the author struggles to keep from going crazy because of. Live, however, she transformed again, this time into Robyn, and the remixed song led to a danceable finale with another elaborate choreography. For the encore, she took the stage alone and first performed “Fayah Fayah”, a song about self-acceptance that she wrote at the age of twenty-two, with only her Spanish. And as she confided, even eleven years later she has not moved further in the pursuit of power. And then she gave another ballad, this time “You”, which is about her young son, and again it was a beautiful singing number accompanied by sensitive piano playing, in which she touched herself. In the end, she transformed again in the final “This World”. And like the often jamming Red Hot Chili Peppers, she extended the footage of her breakthrough hit twice. And even though her numbers were demanding and some singers would have broken their teeth on them, she gave it her all and didn’t stop smiling and thanking everyone in Czech. And no matter who she mentally transformed herself into, she always remained herself. Amazing performance. If any homegrown pop singer wants to show how to take her show to the next level, let Selah Sue be her inspiration. This is what one of the candidates for concert of the year should look like.