Live Review: Arlo Parks, Michelle, Philadelphia, PA, Oct. 27, 2021

Less than two and a half years after Arlo Parks played her very first gig and a month after her debut, Collapsed In Sunbeams, clinched the Mercury Prize for best album by a British or Irish act, the London native wrapped up her first U.S. tour with a packed show at The Foundry at The Fillmore Philadelphia.

Depression, heartbreak, regret and a sense of foreboding run through songs like “Black Dog,” “Eugene,” “Caroline” and “Too Good,” but the sultry groove kept them from feeling stuck in the mire. Inhabiting the same musical universe as Sade and Norah Jones, Parks sparks her lyrics with late-night poetry, as evidenced by “Collapsed In Sunbeams,” read right from her notebook midshow.

The lovely, empathetic “Hope” ended the night, and the tour, on a high note, and if everyone could embrace that feeling with the same speed and fervor with which Parks has been received at the beginning of her promising career, the world would be a better place.

New York R&B collective Michelle opened with sweet harmonies, fun choreography, breezy body-rooted jams (“Pose,” “Syncopate”) and a youthful energy so positive that when Julian Kaufman’s keyboard—the collective’s primary instrument—flipped off its stand, he and his pals just laughed and kept going.

—M.J. Fine; photos by Chris Sikich