Alina Baraz / Cautious Clay Phoenix Concert Hall, Toronto ON, September 24

Alina Baraz / Cautious Clay Phoenix Concert Hall, Toronto ON, September 24
Photo: Wendy Wei
Alina Baraz is decidedly a part of that breezy pop-R&B corner of the modern music world where names like Jhene Aiko reside, melding downtempo swag with electronic soundscapes.
The Cleveland-born, Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter resides in the expanse that is equal parts mainstream-minded and underground-rooted. 2015's EP Urban Flora, with its smooth vibes, was a pleaser, and the latest, The Color of You, established Baraz it as no fluke; Baraz's collaborations with Danish producer Galimatias continue to bear fruit.
Opening act Cautious Clay proved why he's one to watch, with the Brooklyn-based singer and multi-instrumental offering up a brief yet impactful set with intriguing ditties like "Crowned" off his recent Resonance EP.
Don't expect anything flashy from Alina Baraz performance-wise and you won't be disappointed — outside of a sultry two-step and rote choreography (with her kickass solo dancer Kiana Wood), things were pretty vanilla in terms of stagecraft.
Musically, though, it's another story; her métier is breathy, R&B-minded compositions and Baraz has the goods. The Galimatias-produced numbers like "Can I," "Make You Feel," "Fantasy" and "Unfold" are sensual as all get-out. Catchy midtempo tracks like "Buzzin" got the crowd enthused, and recounting a tale of heartbreak got them primed for "High" off The Color of You. Her latest project moves things forward in terms of her songwriting capabilities, and numbers like "Fallin" and the Khalid-collabo "Electric" proved it.
Alina Baraz is a capable vocalist and emerging songwriter backed by a solid team who understand the modern R&B sound and its related late-90-early-00s reference points. She confidently has the "alternative" electro-R&B sound on lock, and her shows seem likely to catch up shortly.