Omar Apollo Blows Fans Away with His Funky Performance at Music Hall of Williamsburg

BY HOLLY GRACE JAMILI

From SoundCloud to selling out shows, Chicano psychedelic R&B artist Omar Apollo played at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg on May 26th to perform his latest album Friends.

PHOTO: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED

PHOTO: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED

Two years ago, I never really was into SoundCloud rap the way that all of my friends were. But I decided to figure out what it was all about. Among the sea of SoundCloud rappers, I stumbled upon Omar Apollo, who sounded nothing like your typical lo-fi beats.

The first time I heard his music, I was laying on my old high school’s bleachers. Dreamy vibrations of warping guitar picking powered over the rhythmic percussion of zooming cars passing by. The singer’s airy vocals were supported by angelic vocal layering. My heart kept time with the reminiscent chord patterns. The heavenly and seductive falsettos put me in a trance. I slowly exhaled. This is Indiana-born Chicano artist Omar Apollo who harmoniously blends sounds of psychedelic pop and romantic ballads in his music.

After that, Omar Apollo was all that I listened to. I checked Spotify to see if he had anything on there. I peeked that he posted his first single “Ugotme” on Spotify. Wow, 15,000 streams already. He’s going to pop off, I thought. Lo and behold, he did.

Although I wanted Omar to be my little secret, I knew that he couldn’t be anymore. Since his SoundCloud days, he has grown into a powerful artist. Omar has amassed to millions of streams with his past EP “Stereo” and latest album Friends.

PHOTO: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED

PHOTO: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED

Friends is an insider look of Omar’s fight through heartbreak as he pushes through with songs that impels you to dance with your friends or cry with a bucket of ice cream at 2 A.M. In his album, he tackles duality with his saddie-but-still-a-baddie mentality.

Omar’s growing success has led him to promote his album on his tour “The Voyager Tour 2019” where he played a New York show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday night.

Fans packed into the intimate dim-lit Brooklyn venue. The stage was simple, yet crowded with equipment for the openers Laundry Day and Mk.Gee. An intergalactic tour banner dropped down. Everyone shrieked for Omar.

He opened his set with an amplified, funkified version of his song “Ignorin’” with his band members Oscar, Manny, and Joey. The menacing progressions of the whooping guitar and thumping bass preceded Omar grooving out onto the floor. I was captivated by his 6’5” talented giant self.  The electrifying performance had me grinning from ear to ear as I ferociously bopped my head.

PHOTO: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED

PHOTO: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED

Throughout the concert, Omar shuffled between ‘80s-inspired wavy moonwalks and heartfelt moments with his delicate guitar strumming. My jaw dropped constantly. The ballet folklórico, Chris Brown BET binges, and church rehearsals from when Omar was a kid jumped out. His confidence and presence invited his audience to sway and sing with him.

Omar and his band left the stage abruptly to prepare for an encore of a revamped and sped-up version of “Hijo de su Madre.” He hopped onto the stage and snatched his mic from the stand, while his band ran to their instruments to play their legendary final song of the night. A train of Omar’s exuberant friends followed as they hooked arms around each other and danced all over. The crowd went wild. Water splashed onto the audience after mosh pits sprouted out of nowhere. I witnessed his friends’ notoriously crowd surf into the audience. I kept cackling about how crazy this show was while my hair was being accidentally tugged by the screaming fans behind me. It was one of the most chaotic, yet enjoyable moments I have ever experienced at a concert.

PHOTO: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED

PHOTO: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED

Omar and his friends said their final goodbye to his fans in Williamsburg and ran offstage with laughter and pride. The stage cut to black and ended the exhilarating last half of Omar’s New York shows.

Be sure to check out Omar Apollo in his last two North America shows in Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia! He will also be pursuing a European tour and a couple of music festivals this summer.  Don’t forget to stream his latest album Friends.

Lead Image Credit: Holly Grace Jamili / BLENDED