Pasadena native Roy Blair began the first show of his “Cat Heaven” tour at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles on Nov. 23. Blair quickly made his way into the hearts of thousands with the release of his debut album “Cat Heaven,” and it is of no surprise that his four show tour quickly sold out in a matter of weeks.
If by any chance you are unsure of who he is, Blair is likely to become an artist that you will only continue to hear more about. The Los Angeles based singer-songwriter made one of his first appearances in the music scene as a backup vocalist on Kevin Abstract’s album “American Boyfriend.” Additionally, he toured alongside popular boyband Brockhampton before breaking off to start his solo career.
In December 2017, Blair released “Cat Heaven,” whose relatable lyrics and amazing production solidified his presence as a solo artist in the industry. A little less than a year later, Blair announced his first solo tour. The first show of which is taking place right in his hometown.
Fans queued in front of the Roxy, adorning Sunset Boulevard with Blair’s merchandise and blasting his songs while eagerly waiting to go inside. Some attendees stood in line since as early as noon.
At around 8:40 p.m., the doors open, and everyone begins to make their way into the venue. Similar to most concerts, the show is off to a bit of a late start — though fans seem to be waiting in an excited anticipation.
“im … nervous” Blair tweets from backstage.
The excited buzz soon turns into chants.
“Roy! Roy! Roy!”
Eventually, the curtains rise, revealing a stage that creates a hometown like scene. The props scattered around including: a “Cat Heaven” skate ramp, a backdrop of a house, a couple of skateboards, scattered energy drinks, and a street sign that reads “Amberwood Drive” — an actual street in Pasadena.
Then, Blair’s band makes their way onto the stage. Guitarist Jack Loken strums a mellow introduction as Zach Fogarty and Ender Toi join in on production and drums respectively. Soon the introduction transitions into the opening riffs of “Alex” — the second song off of “Cat Heaven.” Blair makes his way out then, and the crowd goes wild.
“And I’m gonna lose my mind tonight,” he sings, “and no one in the world is gonna stop me.”
The steady beats of “Alex” soon lead into the far more intense “Family,” whose lyrics describe feeling alone and damaged. Blair jumps around the stage as audience members join him. Following “Family” are “Happy” and “Perfume” — both upbeat songs about falling in love, which is trailed by “Jane” — a song dedicated to Blair’s aunt who passed away from cancer.
Onstage, Blair is a sight to behold, flawlessly transitioning to match the ever changing dynamics of each song. Fans are visibly entranced by the performance, knowingly singing along to every lyric. Finishing “Jane,” Blair plays the first song that is not featured on “Cat Heaven” — a track titled “Above Not Below” that hasn’t been released yet.
“I’ve only played this like twice before.” Blair says as he begins.
The vocals are demanding, but just like all of his other work, the song delivers in all aspects possible. A small skit plays afterwards, which then transitions to “Dennis” — a single Blair released earlier this year. We’re then taken back to a variety of popular hits from “Cat Heaven” — “Kansas,” “September,” “Grand Theft Auto,” and “Thunder.”
Blair continues to be a firecracker onstage: running up the ramp on stage right, engaging the audience in call and responses, joining in on playing guitar, and delivering every song with a genuine emotion that is astounding to see live.
To the fans’ dismay, Blair eventually has to begin his final song of the night: “California,” the songs title fitting the location of the concert. As the ending instrumentals continue to play, he runs around the edges of the stage to reach out to fans. The tune starts to fade out, and Blair joins his band in exiting the stage. The audience isn’t having it however, as different parts of the crowd begin choruses of “one more song!” and “Roy! Roy! Roy!”
“Y’all want one more song?” Blair says into a microphone backstage. He is met with a roar in response.
“I can see you!” he jokes.
Fans wait in bated breath until Loken, Fogarty and Toi start to make their way on stage. “Hazel” the final song on “Cat Heaven,” begins to play.
It is a perfect conclusion to an amazing show. Listening to the final song of the album as an encore perfectly recreates the feeling of listening to the album on one’s own.
Blair is nothing if not ridiculously talented. His lyrics tell tales of loneliness, love, loss, and struggles that everybody can relate to in one way or another. His voice has a unique depth that perfectly accompanies the captivating instrumentals and background beats of his songs. One would never be able to tell that his album and show were debuts should they have not known prior.
It is common to find that artists sound amazing in studio but lack in performance quality live.
Blair is not one of these artists.
And it will be a pleasure to watch him continue to grow from here.