K. Flay & Upsahl Electrify St. Andrew’s Hall with Genre-Bending Sets (SHOW REVIEW/PHOTOS)

To see K. Flay performing live is like seeing a bolt of electricity personified: a blur of headbanging, feet stomping, arms thrashing. With a new collection Inside Voices / Outside Voices in tow, the singer thrilled a packed crowd at St. Andrew’s Hall in Detroit with her idiosyncratic style that transcended any notion of genre. K. Flay also added some theatrical flair, punctuating and tying together the set with an evolving narrative of “listening to the voices within ourselves” with memorable spoken interludes. 

Here are five moments that stood out from the show:

UPSAHL Dazzles in First Opening Slot on Tour

Opener UPSAHL noted that it was her first date opening for K. Flay on the tour, but the energy she brought to the stage fit in immediately. The singer captivated the crowd from the get-go with a dynamic stage presence that engaged all sides. The low-key “Arizona” showcased her gentler croon, and the crowd greeted the vocalist with a sea of bobbing lights that illuminated the entire room. UPSAHL got the crowd moving again toward the end of the set, holding a powerful sustained note at the end of “Notorious” to a loud round of cheers and getting fans bouncing on closer “Lunatic.” 

Quieter Vocal Showcases for K. Flay

K. Flay showcased one of the most unique voices in music today, moving from the speedy cadence of hip-hop to the guttural roars of hard rock. However, some of the slower tracks highlighted the power of her voice, even in the quieter moments, like over the minimal guitar riff at the start of “Make Me Fade.” 

K. Flay was also later joined by guitarist Alex Foote, seated together on a small riser in the front of the stage. The two then led the wistful-yet-hopeful “Maybe There’s a Way.” Once again, the fans grooved with their cell phone lights lit up in time with K. Flay’s tender vocals.

Guitar Heroics

The set provided plenty of opportunities for the backing band to shine, like drummer Mike Robinson powering “The Muck” and imitating K. Flay’s heartbeat with the kick drum during the narrative interlude before “TGIF.” Foote deserves a ton of credit for guitar work throughout, as well, as he delivered a searing guitar solo from the riser on the latter track. (“TGIF” was originally a collaboration between K. Flay and guitar legend Tom Morello, and Foote certainly did the track justice.) Elsewhere, Foote’s guitar roared to life (perhaps even more prominently than in the recordings), from the rollicking riff of “Zen” to the gritty punch of “Blood in the Cut.” 

Storybook (Main Set) Ending

In the final narrative interlude, K. Flay brought her story full circle: “Right now I’m listening to all the voices in my head.” Explaining that she considers herself a maniac, a dork and a sensitive queer person, K. Flay urged the crowd to find freedom in all their disparate voices within.

“After I count to three, I want you to take all the voices in your head and scream,” she commanded. “Scream because you have a story.” 

When the countdown ended, the audience let out a cathartic roar. From there, K. Flay launched into two of the most electrifying songs of the night, the rip-roaring “Zen” (for which she notably performed the other verses from this collaborative track with X Ambassadors and grandson) and the intense “Blood in the Cut.”   

High Enough for the Encore

After a quick departure from the stage, K. Flay and the backing band returned for their two-song encore, starting with the defiant “This Baby Don’t Cry.” Finally, it was the moment that the crowd was waiting on – hearing the massive hit “High Enough.” 

“I need everything you have left,” K. Flay implored the crowd at the start of the song. The audience eagerly obliged, bouncing and waving their arms in time with the anthemic chorus. 

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