If you haven’t been to a So Loki show, you are missing out. Sam Lucia and Natura have a flair for the theatrical that would feels more New York City than too-cool-to-care Vancouver. The secrecy and and care surrounding every detail of their Seasons Festival show was impressive — the other acts weren’t revealed until a few days before and the all-black dress code was announced the morning of via an ‘80s video game inspired poster on the Facebook event page. Being a veteran of typical Vancouver shows, I’ve come to appreciate the general come-as-you-are atmosphere; but So Loki makes an effective case for the thrill of purposefully dressing for the night and taking it seriously.
I headed around the back of Vancouver Arts & Leisure, got marked off on a fancy iPad checklist, and headed into the back room. The setup was amazing. Framing Hoop Joplin’s turntables at the back of the stage there were two massive crosses with pink and blue tinted nature videos projected onto them and the performers, courtesy of local filmographer Lucas Hrubizna. The videos had perfectly placed cross cutouts matching the physical crosses on the stage, each with special nature scenes from the greater projection. Like everything else about a So Loki show, it was impressive.
The next act, Bains, performed to a black clad audience where folks swaying and nodding were shoulder-to-shoulder with intense dancers. He had DJ Khalid’s aesthetic and slow but intense energy, mixed with the sound of Eminem. There were people who filmed every second of his set, providing an unexpected spotlight that refocused every second of the performance on him. The amateur videographers’ flash matched the black, gray and white projections behind Bains.
After Bains, Prado got on stage and totally disregarded the implied black dress code. She had bright pink pom pom earrings nestled in her curls, which fell over a light pink silk house coat and hot pink shorts. Her stand-out style completely suited her outstanding set. She was magnetic on stage, very natural and conversational but breaking out an intensity during the songs. It was honestly one of the best sets I’ve ever seen. The audience tried to absorb as much of her passion as possible as they moved closer to the stage.
So Loki are the only performers who could have followed Prado. They only played songs off their new album, having just released their new single “Boo Boo” on Spotify earlier that week. They brought the drama. Natura stood comfortably behind the keys as Lucia yelled into the microphone, losing his bandana, then his jacket, and finally shirt throughout the set. At one point, Sam loosed a bottle of champagne onto the suffocatingly close crowd. Then he took out a megaphone and fittingly performed “Liquid Luck.”
Every So Loki show is a transformation — they have an entrancing ability to manipulate very normal settings and make them sparkle.
In Vancouver, So Loki are coming into a scene where they don’t have much established support, and they are very aware of this. At every show, Lucia makes a speech about the importance of the fans and the family that the audience is now a part of, having supported them. Their championing a space for hip hop artists in Vancouver is invaluable. Drama and pageantry aside, what they’re doing is really straightforward, and it’s just a perk that they’ve made the ride so exciting.