Rosalía is still playing clubs, but the one-of-a-kind future-flamenco art-pop heroine almost feels ready for arenas. For the first American club show of her worldwide El Mal Querer Tour — her first ever North American headlining gig — she hit the stage at the Mayan in Los Angeles, a sold-out show held on the Wednesday between her two appearances at Coachella. Places the size of the Mayan may not hold Rosalía much longer: Her visuals brought EDM grandeur, a crew of six dancers provided movement, and the crowd sang louder than she did for the first notes of opener “Pienso En Tu Mira.”
Though most write-ups of Rosalía focus on her wildly untraditional take on a centuries-old form, she’s much more than a star of “new flamenco.” She’s an Jodorowsky-evoking avant-gardist, an ambassador for mutant techno, an R&B hook-crooner and quite possibly a pop star in the making. The 69 million views on breakout “Malamente” and 68 million views on recent J Balvin collab “Con Altura” show that she may soon lap Grimes, Kevin Parker, Justin Vernon, and PC Music as the art star that reframes the mainstream.
Her music covers a lot of ground and she received ecstatic reactions for many of them. “De Madrugá” — an as yet unreleased song — features a display of exploding vocal chops and, only four songs into the set, the crowd reacted like the night had peaked. She seemed at home with both the à capella of “Catalina” as well as the pure pop spectacle later in the set. She covered funky ’70s Flamenco-rock sensations Las Grecas, but rendered their “Te Estoy Amando Locamente” like something off Kanye West’s Yeezus. “A Ningún Hombre” is a warped voice manipulation tune like something off a Laurie Anderson album and people were singing along to that too.
For “Brillo” and “Con Altura,” both collaborations with the wildly successful J Balvin, Rosalía put on traditional star moves — boss poses, rap bluster and teen-pop grinding.
The entire thing was about 65 minutes, Rosalía barely pausing for patter, thank yous or breaks. Part pop show, part interpretive dance performance, part folk tradition showcase, part folk tradition detonator, part avant-techno show where she plays producer El Guincho’s sampler — Rosalía’s tour bravely charts what may be America’s next musical step.
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@rosalia.vt 🇪🇸❤️✨ Anoche vivi una experiencia que ansiaba vivir desde hace tiempo. Su arte, pasión, y ni hablar de sus bailarinas y cantantes. Todo increíble ❤️ canto de mis canciones favoritas como “Catalina,” “Bagdad,” “Malamente,” “Pienso en tu Mira,” “Di mi Nombre,” entre muchas otras mas. Aunque quede con ganas de escuchar “De Plata,” la amo mas después de verla en vivo. 😍 #sisoygroupieyque 💃🏻