Jorja Smith and Kali Uchis at the Santa Barbara Bowl | Credit: Harvest Keeney

Last Friday, under a full moon, Kali Uchis and Jorja Smith indulged a Santa Barbara Bowl audience in musical delights of feel-good grooves and celestial vocals, respectively. Smith opened the evening, her invigorating vocals and the band’s accompanying percussion being the focal points of the stripped-down set. The singer created an intimate setting with jazz-R&B performances of moody ode-to-love tracks such as “February 3rd” and “The One,” the audience raising their arms and closing their eyes to bask in Smith’s vocals. “Blue Lights” and the upbeat “On My Mind” showed Smith is just as comfortable singing magnetic bangers as acoustic ballads. 

Sultry songstress Uchis took the stage to an uproar of applause as she danced around an electric-powered winding staircase. Audience energy was high as they sung the chorus to the Uchis and Steve Lacy song “Just a Stranger.” “She wants my hundred-dollar bills, she don’t want love” echoed throughout the amphitheater as Uchis danced onstage. 

She introduced her performance of the 2015 single “Ridin’ Round” by thanking all the fans who had been following her artistic journey since her beginning projects. One of the night’s highlights was Uchis’ performance of “Nuestro Planeta,” sung entirely in Spanish. While Smith’s set was lowkey, meant to captivate the audience through her vocal strength, Uchis brought a high-energy glitz and glamour to the second half of the night.

Smith joined Uchis for the show’s encore with a medley of hits including Erykah Badu’s “On & On,” Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” and Amy Winehouse’s “Stronger Than Me.” The friends closed out the night by performing their collaborative track, “Tyrants,” and making their way up the staircase to say their goodbyes and thank-yous to the audience.


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