By: Mikayla Alexander
I would not classify myself as an avid concertgoer because I have only been to a few of them post high school. In 2019 and 2020, I went to see Cuco and Tyler the Creator, and this past year I saw Bryson Tiller and Paramore. It was money well spent on artists I know well.
However, it is not easy to be available for concerts in my adult life and very rarely do many artists I like make their way to Saint Louis. Fortunately, 2024 will finally break this trend. If you are a fan of hip-hop or indie/folk music, you may also be anticipating the arrival of these artists.
Phora: Saints & Sinners Tour at The Hawthorn Event Venue
Genre: Rap, Hip-Hop
Venue Address: 2231 Washington Avenue
Phora is a California-based rapper, who released his first album in 2012 titled "Still A Kid”. It was not until 2015 when I stumbled upon his music. At the time I only had a regular subscription to Spotify and found it horrifying that as a 14-year-old girl, I could not select the exact songs I wanted. It ended up working in my favor when I was washing dishes and the first notes of “Wish You Knew” from Phora’s newly released album, “Angels with Broken Wings” began to play. The song had me hooked on the simple guitar strokes and the angelic voice of Wolvang, wrapped in an R&B melody. After hyper fixating on the rest of the album, I was pleased with Phora’s vulnerability in his romantic relationships, his friendships, his life growing up, and his self-reflective thoughts on all of the above. Even his release “Lucky Me” in 2023 carries that self-awareness and openness, enveloped by a beautiful flow with R&B and Hip-Hop tunes. Phora is performing on Friday, February 23 at 8 pm. The doors open at 7 pm, and the tickets are all General Admission starting at $46.
Photo via Billboard, Credit: Jacob Hulzar
Drake with J. Cole: It’s All a Blur Tour at The Enterprise Center
Genre: Pop, Rap, Hip- Hop
Venue Address: 1401 Clark Avenue
Both Drake and J. Cole have been chart-topping rappers over the years, whose music I genuinely enjoy. Granted not every single song was immediately likable to me, especially more pop-sounding and mainstream songs such as Drake’s “Hotline Bling” and the recently released “IDGAF” featuring Yeat. Despite that, his impact from iconic albums like, "Views and Nothing Was The Same” stuck with me and led me back to newer works that I love such as the song, “Bahamas Promises.” Unlike Drake, J. Cole slowly made the switch away from mainstream. I liked him when the song, “Power Trip” was all over the radio stations, but I also enjoyed his lesser-known songs included in the album, such as “Rich N**gaz” and “Chaining Day.” The release of “4 Your Eyez Only” in 2016 was significant in his direction as an artist. He presents 44 minutes of a personal and true story of a black man in America and how it tragically yet cyclically ends in his death. This album solidified my admiration for J. Cole’s storytelling, poetic delivery, lyricism, and connection to the world he lives in. Both Drake and J. Cole have been highly praised live performers, and I suspect that having them both perform together for some St. Louis shows will be high energy and a lot of fun. They are performing two shows in our city starting at 8 pm on Monday, February 12th, and Tuesday, February 13th. The cheapest tickets start at $123, which are nosebleed seats. The price range is $300-$500 for a better view, but this is certainly the gamble you set yourself up for when wanting to see your favorite artists who are in high demand.
Photo via The Rolling Stone, Credit: Astrida Valigorsky WireImage
Hozier: Unreal Unearth Tour at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Genre: Folk, Rock, Blues
Venue Address: 14141 Riverport Drive
Hozier, unfortunately, did not draw me into his music with “Take Me to Church.” While I did think it was a unique tune, the constant radio play made me quickly lose interest. Despite this, I found some tracks of his that I took a stronger liking to. After listening to the rest of his self-titled “Hozier” album from 2014, I found the songs “Cherry Wine” and “Run” to be emotionally raw and poetic. From 2014 to 2022 Hozier released a few singles, but he finally returned with a full album, "Unreal Unearth”, in September 2023. Songs from that album such as “De Selby (Part 1)” and “First Time” leave me with a melancholic yet enjoyable feeling that only Hozier could execute so well. His show is on Tuesday, August 13th at 8 pm. It is an outdoor concert with GA Lawn tickets starting at $63.
Photo via Variety, Credit: Barry McCall
I will not be attending a lot of shows this year, but I am excited thinking about the quality of the artists that I will see. The year has only just begun, so there is certainly more time for artists to release touring dates and I look forward to seeing more of them in St. Louis.