Alessia Cara finished the US leg of her Know-It-All tour on Saturday in DC. Delayed because of Snowzilla 2016, the show took place in U Street’s Lincoln Theater, a much larger venue than the originally planned 9:30 Club. Although she put on a great show, the intimate feel of that Cara was going for was somewhat undermined by the change in venue. The understated set design and her low key performance style is better suited for the much smaller space in the 9:30 Club.
Leading off with “I’m Yours”, Cara performed every track from her debut album, Know-It-All as well as her cover of “Sweater Weather” by The Neighbourhood. Lincoln Theater’s spacious seating plan took much of the intimacy out of the show and made it harder for the performance to connect. Despite this Cara got by just fine; her bluesy voice drew in audience members so that they started to leave their seats and fill the aisles to get closer to the stage. The more intimate 9:30 Club definitely would have helped elevate her performance to the next level, but Cara performed admirably.
Alessia Cara got her start by playing covers on Youtube. Her most famous,“Sweater Weather”, has over a million views. From there, her breakout single “Here” brought her mainstream success, including a guest spot on Taylor Swift’s 1989 tour. The single, which gained fame as an introvert’s anthem, is a prime example of the appeal of Cara’s music. Alessia Cara is able honestly capture her own teenage experience, which many can relate to, in her R&B laden sound.
Casually dressed in black jeans, a t-shirt and a black jacket, the diminutive nineteen year old addressed the crowd with the exuberance of a young girl on her first tour. Far from a seasoned entertainer, Cara used her youthful charm and relatable quality of her music to win over the mostly teenaged audience. She frequently reach out to interact with the crowd and at the end reached for phones to take selfies with eager concert-goers.
The youthful quality of Cara’s voice and music easily transferred to the stage on Saturday night. With time and experience Cara will be able to increase her stage presence and really fill a space like Lincoln Theater. Seeing as this was the young artist’s first foray into the spotlight, there’s nowhere to go but up for Alessia Cara.