Tori Kelly Rocks the House of Blues

Siobhan Kenneally
Staff Writer

Last Saturday, I went to my first concert. Yes, I am in college and I do have a social life. In my defense, concert tickets are expensive and popular musicians rarely perform in rural Maine. In Boston, however, the opportunities to go out on the town are endless. When my sister learned that Tori Kelly would be performing at the House of Blues, she jumped on the chance to visit me and see one of her favorite singers. I was happy to tag along and found that I don’t mind Kelly’s upbeat sound and empowering lyrics. My first concert was certainly not a disappointment.

Tori Kelly is a young singer and songwriter who made her start on YouTube. She auditioned for American Idol’s 9th season but was eliminated in the show’s early stages. She went on to write and produce her first album titled Handmade Songs By Tori Kelly.  This led to her signing with Capitol Records in 2012. In June of 2015 she released her first album, “Unbreakable Smile.” The song “Nobody Love” from this record was a commercial success. She was nominated for the Best New Artist Grammy Award and performed at the ceremony  on February 15, 2016. Her music, which has attracted millions of fans, is peppy with an emphasis on the bass guitar and drums.

Tori Kelly set out on her third concert tour, the Unbreakable Tour, on April 5, 2016, at Humphreys Concerts By the Bay in San Diego, Calif.. Kelly has performed in sold out theaters across the U.S. and Canada, the House of Blues on April 30 being one.

My sister and I stood on the sidewalk for thirty minutes before we were allowed into the packed theater. We were then directed to the balcony level of the eclectic theater. We weaved through packs of fans before finding our seats, which were comfortable but tightly packed. The opening act, a group of three young singers called Thirdstory, was on stage. Their harmony was crisp and their tone was soft. After much chanting and applause, the star finally took the stage at 8. She was dressed in leather and her famous blonde curls bounced as she opened the concert with “Where I Belong” and “Unbreakable Smile.”

Not being too familiar with Kelly’s music before Saturday, I was pleasantly surprised to hear a mix of loud, brassy pop songs and mellow, sensitive ballads. At one point Kelly broke into an impressive solo on the drums. My favorite part of the concert was when Kelly sang a remix of “All in My Head” and “Dear No One.” She belted to glorious heights as she danced across the stage. Following this crowd pleaser, Kelly walked offstage. Her encore included a performance of “Hollow,” arguably her most popular hit. Kelly sang the well-known riffs with pure emotion. The crowd was on its feet dancing and howling along.

After the concert, my sister and I returned to the sidewalk to await Kelly’s exit out the stage door. We waited an hour before deciding to return to Simmons. Despite this disappointment, our spirits were high and our ears were ringing. I don’t know if I’ll listen to more Tori Kelly music in the future. Her lyrics, while positive and uplifting, aren’t very poetic or layered. However, I will continue to go to concerts. I may even make a habit of it.