Kimbra's 'Space Jam' Brooklyn Show Captivates With Psychedelic Visuals & Improvised Set

Jeff Forney
Kimbra photographed by Jeff Forney on July 16, 2014 in Los Angeles. 

It’s 10 o’clock on a Sunday night and a pool of Brooklynites linger beneath purple lights. The Baby's All Right crowd whoops and hollers as Kimbra enters the stage wearing a green and purple kimono. The show is called Space Jam, a fitting title for the psychedelic display that encircles the singer. Something of a digitized collage of paint strokes, the light projections come and go, one pastel brush overlapping the next. Fair-skinned and striking, Kimbra is an undeniable presence amid it all. 

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“It’s amazing what happens when you just surrender,” she tells the crowd as she launches into a tour-de-force vocal performance. And surrender she does. With each song to come, Kimbra sinks progressively into something of a tranced state, fusing with her music and simply letting go. Largely improvised, Kimbra’s act conveys a chemistry that can’t be accomplished with just any band. Taking cues from one another, the bandmates act on instinct and follow nothing in the realm of tradition. With Kimbra’s voice as the lead, they act as one cohesive unit in creating a sound true to the moment. Epitomizing soul to its fullest, Kimbra and her band captivate the space with enviable camaraderie.

Ultimately, it’s Kimbra’s vocals that steal the show. Full-bodied and bold, they surpass lyric or genre. Acknowledging this incomparable ability, Kimbra dissects her voice’s many layers with each track to follow. Bouncing from funk to hip-hop to soul and all flavors between, she turns unexpected corners and asks the crowd to come with her. It doesn’t take much for everyone to agree, or so it seems when considering most -- if not all -- have fallen victim to the groove-inducing music. With no bodies standing still, including Kimbra’s, the audience surrenders to the sound.

Yet Kimbra and her infectious smile aren't the only stars at the show. Off to the side of the stage stands Questlove of The Roots, blending in with the rest of the crowd, watching as awe-stricken as the rest of us.

Come 11:15 p.m., Kimbra wrapped up the show with a simple-and-hopeful message: "See you next month."