San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

A night of music and magic: Arlo Parks transforms San Diego stage into a soulful haven

Arlo Parks lit up the stage at her debut show on her North American tour at The Observatory North Park
Phoenix Miller
Arlo Parks kicked off her North America tour at The Observatory North Park on Feb. 29

From rainy London to sunny San Diego, Arlo Parks kicked off her first North American tour in the sunshine city. 

Parks, also known as Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinhodebuting, found success with her debut album, “Collapsed in Sunbeams,” which won her the Mercury Music Prize. 

Parks began making music by putting her poems to instrumental sounds, and from there, she started to grow.  

With the release of her sophomore album, “My Soft Machine,” the accolades just continue to come. She is nominated for “Artist of the Year” at the Brit Awards, highlighting her immense accomplishments overseas. It seems American audiences are slowly starting to catch on to the jazzy, soul sounds of Parks. 

On Feb. 29, she performed at The Observatory in North Park making it a leap day the audience would always remember. 

Parks has a specific sound, look and feel to her, and the audience, who ranged in age, reflected how timeless her music is. 

“It’s R&B old school that’s modernized with a beautiful harmony, she hits it on the head and nobody else is really doing that,” said Graydon Jenkins-Orr, a concert attendee, who identifies with Park’s older fans. 

Graydon Jenkins-Orr’s wife, Lisa, said their 20-year-old kids are listening to Parks with them. His wife added that she felt music today lacked the soul that Parks was bringing back.  

Chloe George, a successful musician and producer who found fame through TikTok, opened the show. Her bubbly personality shined through with her Indie pop sound and movement all across the stage. She debuted songs like “My Nature” and “Losing You,” as well as an acoustic

Arlo Parks during her performance at The Observatory

cover of “Heart of Glass” that the whole crowd sang along to. 

George announced to the crowd that her EP was debuting that night, which just increased the excitement in the room. 

Even George could feel it, she ended her set by thanking the crowd for sharing their energy with her. From the way she introduced Parks, it is clear that she even has such admiration for her. 

It was not long before the lights dimmed again and a blue haze covered the set. Park’s presence is known the second she is on stage, but surprisingly there was not a slew of phones when she entered. 

She had such a captivating stage presence and one of the most enamoring things about Park is her contrasting physical appearance to her sound. 

Sporting a baggy t-shirt, pattern shorts, Jordans and a bright red buzzcut, it almost makes one do a double take when she starts singing. Her voice is so delicate, soft and melodic — it almost sounds like an adult lullaby. 

The first few songs performed flowed into each other, transitioning from “weightless” to “blades.” It was clear that her lyrics meant a lot to her fans, especially her spoken poems throughout the songs. 

Another concert-goer, Alice Ertl, discovered Parks by attending a Clairo concert where Parks was the opener. From there she has been hooked. 

“I love her lyrics. I love reading her poetry, too, and hearing it with all the instruments combined, it makes it so much bigger and adds so much emotion,” Ertl said. 

These themes are clear through the following songs Parks played, “Dog Rose,” “Pegasus” and “Hurt,” which are some of her most popular songs. These seemed to really encompass Park’s identity as a musician, touching on topics of loneliness, heartache and friendship. 

Parks made it a point to interact with the audience throughout the show. She climbed on the gates in front of the barricade and fans were able to touch and tangibly feel the dreamy artist. On stage, she was so inviting and somehow made eye contact with the whole crowd. 

Parks had such chemistry with her band and gave them all their own moments to shine. She made sure to introduce them all, right before one of the lead guitarists broke out into an electric solo. 

Not long after, Parks had a guitar she was playing. This led to multiple guitar breaks where Parks just got to rock out. The crowd looked like they were at a metal concert, headbanging along to the sound. 

As the night came to a close, Parks slowed her set down. It was such a beautiful sight to see couples dance with each other, friends lean on each other and everyone in the room hypnotized by the effervescent performer. 

Parks finished the show by thanking the crowd and letting them know how much she loved them. The energy in the air stayed long after she left the stage. 

Parks is slowly, but surely cementing herself as a timeless artist. She made this even more prevalent because of the performer she is. With this major North America tour, Parks will for sure be leaving America with more fans than she came with.