On Friday, November 17th, Puma Blue performed at The Sinclair with the help of his band and opener Harvey Dweller who is a current member of the band. The Boston performance was a part of a string of shows belonging to the Holy Waters tour.
In my scribed effort to do the venue justice—indigo stage lighting paired with undertones of violet rays and manila lamps scattering around the foggy stage—I found the set to be a fitting analogy for the concert experience.
Puma Blue mixes indie rock and alternative downtempo/atmospheric contemporary jazz genres to create a unique sound. In accordance with the layers of instrumentation and vocals emitting from the stage, waves of 'blues' reflected that of the lights cast on our surveying crowd. 'Blues' can be taken in the literal sense it presents, but also in the abstract way the word feels to an individual. During this concert, 'blues' were a representation of the contemporary jazz features in the music, an aesthetic decision, and a means to describe the lyrical component of Puma Blue's songs. Fan favorites like, "Want Me," "Moon Undah Water," and "Lust," were carefully spread throughout the setlist to build tension and ease the excitement of concertgoers alike. Specifically towards the end of the set, "(She's) Just a Phase," set off emotions born from longing for love and self-manipulation which swelled the room until eventually released by a figurative exhale.
These gaping moments to breathe are where the violet rays on stage come through. Amidst the concert's melancholy were the rare happy aftertastes akin to unusual purple skies or joyous cries. Let there be no mistake—these gaps could not always come from the depressed subject material—but instead from the crowd itself. The audience felt as much involved in the experience as the artist and band members performing. Puma Blue announced that he was reluctant to involve himself too heavily in the audience's conversations as a result of a tiring week, yet the pit seemed to bring itself up to speed on their own accord. Love in an intimate setting such as this venue is a special thing that you can only wish to happen, and when it does—it is magical. I experienced that feeling first-hand at the hands of the band and the hands of friends.
Tying off the parallels, I'd love to sum up this feature with a cheesy saying like: the manila lamps symbolized the friends we made along the way...but in reality, there is no large conclusion to reel in. The beige lamp lighting did exactly what it was intended to do. Illuminate. Illuminate the stage, illuminate the concentrated faces of musicians who love what they do, illuminate the words of songs played despite the difficulty of live production, and illuminate a feeling made possible only from these 'blues'.
Puma Blue’s music is not for everyone—this is a given considering the fusion of genres that create the landscape for his music—but hidden throughout are several raw moments of pure vocalization reminiscent of siren calls and soul melodies and a sound worth checking out, or a feeling worth feeling.
His tour officially ended on the 22nd of November with an emphasis on a love for music above else and most importantly the blues.