Hayley Kiyoko ran her first headlining tour ever and I was lucky enough to attend the sold out show in Atlanta on March 22nd. The tour included pop band flor as an opener. Together they made quite a show and the fact that only two artists were playing made the set times longer allowing a more in-depth look into the band’s music and their personality. flor was able to engage with a crowd that hadn't been too familiar with their music and gain new fans, while Kiyoko was able to speak to the crowd in a way that made the show feel intimate. Vinyl (the venue) was the perfect setting for the show with a soft, rustic, and vintage interior and plenty of comfortable seating and a nice wide standing room for general admission.
Since flor was the only opener, they were able to lengthen their setlist and interact more with the crowd. While I can’t say I particularly favored their sound, I can’t deny that they were talented. flor is a four piece band from Hood River, Oregon and the band includes: Kyle Hill, McKindley Kitts, Dylan William, and Zach Grace. Together these guys create an alternative, pop sound that was interesting to listen to. This was my first time hearing the band and while I have to admit they aren’t the genre I usually listen to, they are unique and their passion about making and performing music was evident the moment they walked onto to the stage. I could tell that they were in their element and they weren’t messing around, but don’t think this means they didn’t have fun on stage. Their humor coupled with their passion results in a show that has a chill vibe in a party atmosphere. If you’re looking for some songs to start listening to by flor, I suggest “Guarded,” “Hold On,” and “Warm Blood.”
Hayley Kiyoko was no doubt as amazing live as she is recorded. I found myself pleasantly surprised that she could captivate the entire audience and have them hanging onto her voice throughout each song. She has such an amazing personality that is perfect for on-stage; she’s slightly awkward, yet sure of herself which gives off a confidence and assurance to the crowd to enjoy themselves and let loose. And that is exactly what everyone did. The crowd was dancing and singing to every single song and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.
Knowing the influence Kiyoko has in the LGBTQ community is evident just from listening to her music. She provides the community with a safe place to really be free and be exactly who they are; crazy dance moves and all. “This is my headlining tour, so I can talk as much as I want…” she said during a break between songs. Kiyoko utilizes every second while on stage to create a moment which will carry on for weeks to come. She gets the crowd engaged, brings up their confidence, and carries them off with a sense of belonging and euphoria. Her music brings something to pop that is unique yet in line with artists like Halsey. She brings stories of loss, pain, and happiness along with so many others that haven’t always been present in pop music.
In between songs, Kiyoko told the crowd about her process of writing the track “Palace” which she describes as a pop song that deals with how loss can affect us all. She discussed how loss isn’t written about enough in pop music and because their wasn’t one, she would write it. She also discussed how when she was younger she would lock herself away and dream of a life in which her love for another girl would be “normal and accepted;” this story would become the baseline for the track “Rich Youth.” Her influence in the pop music industry is gaining momentum and having this kind of representation for LGBTQ is so immensely important in creating a future of acceptance and unity.
During the last song I got a little emotional because this kind of environment is so important to the music industry. We need to have a safe place for our LGBTQ community and seeing this live and in the flesh was just surreal. This crowd was alive in this moment. It takes a truly spectacular artist to create a show like this and Hayley Kiyoko is a truly a spectacular artist.