by Kat Pongrace
In what seems to be the vanguard color of Gen-Z, a woman with electric green hair bounded onstage at Baby’s All Right last week (October 30) to open Category is: Sonic Synesthesia. The event was my first encounter with Pink Boot, an independent media outlet dedicated to celebrating women and femmes of color, and the line up for Sonic Synesthesia in no way came up short.
Brooklyn R&B songstress Alex Mali warmed up the crowd with songs from her recent EP Sweet + Sour, including her new track “Fighting Words.” Her intimate performance eschewed Baby's normally bejeweled backdrop in favor of a projection of the moon and clouds emblazoned with her name and her silhouette. For an opening act, she seemed to be highly anticipated, and from what I heard had been the primary attraction for many in the crowd attending.
Following Mali, Los Angeles-based Mila J brought her signature girl group appeal with a side of some serious Scorpio energy. Mila, a former dancer and girl group singer (including an appearance in Prince's "Diamonds and Pearls"), exhibited a number of well-choreographed routines that avoided feeling overproduced. After recording a pair of EPs with Motown and recording with such artists as Jodeci and Timbaland, Mila is currently working on her debut studio album.
Canadian hip hop artist Tommy Genesis headlined the evening with such wild energy and charisma, it was easy to overlook the raspy quality of her voice that contrasted with the silky back up vocals off her self-titled album, released last year. Betraying her background in art theory and sculpture, Genesis delivered on her reputation for fetish rap with boudoir attire to match—I couldn’t help but feel the subversiveness that characterizes tracks like “Empty” and “World Vision” from her earlier releases.
After a medley of her most recent songs, the show reached its crescendo with her self-titled track “Tommy.” Touching the ceiling with one hand, she pulled excited fans up onstage while seeming to dangle above us at an angle too sharp to be possible. Her performance almost felt like a metal show, screaming into the microphone with an almost desperate intensity. The evening's title (“Sonic Synethesia”) became clearer as the bass became so loud, it felt like a kinetic illusion. Without an encore, the kinetic energy in the room exited with Genesis as she walked offstage.