Every performance doesn’t need a full house to feel grandiose. In fact, some need less hands to reflect the way a musician’s art comes across; intimate, emotional, and directed straight at the heart. Walking into the Neighborhood Theatre on Friday night, I saw the perfect crowd for the night’s activities, even if I didn’t know it yet.

Sitting at the helm as host of the night, Kidemo of True Dreams Radio fit perfectly in as someone that gives love to Charlotte’s locals and indie artists alike. Paired up alongside DJ Mina Marie, the two keep the energy up in the spaces between and to the end of the night, giving love to the Leo’s as they proudly announced August had arrived.

Keeping in pace with the set time, the first set of performers slowly filled in behind the array of instruments. Opening the night officially, the audience’s introduction to 1 Way North was Domenice Elcock, the leader of the band, putting a question to everyone present about what inspires love in their minds. The answer she gave, dishes, stuck out to me as not only could I hear the gasps, but feel the crowd’s attention now squarely on her. The moment after, taking the response to show that even the most mundane chore meant the world as an expression of her partner giving back to her, set up what the warm feelings that were embodied in the music to come.

Versatile in their performance, 1 Way North reveled in the multiple parts that made up the band. One moment I might be caught up in the synchrony between Patrick Barton’s cello and CharisAnne Ippolito’s piano, using their section to emphasize the vocals formed from Domenice alongside fellow artists Emaejai and KeonSoulSinger. In the next, the tempo would shoot up and the venue filled with dance, with Theo Barnes and LaSean Gilbert pairing their bass and electric guitar with Jeremy Dupree’s percussion. The result was a collective that not only could take over the space at any given moment, but made the crowd feel at home, like coming to a neighborhood party and letting the woes of the world be melted away by the flow of the music.

With the room warmed up, our headliner of the evening Søelle had found herself in good company. Digging from the heights and lows of feeling with a tender heart, Søelle leaves herself completely unguarded the moment she gets behind her instrument of choice, whether behind a set of keys or on acoustic guitar. There is a palatable pain in much of her lyrics that pushes for comfort and the strength of overcoming those moments, making her most recent song “Flowers” a set of moments to behold.

Playing to the track almost completely, the end was signified by the artist running off stage in tears as the backing performers played through the instrumentals, as roses were laid on the lid of her piano. This caught me off guard the most, and it was an extreme relief to see Søelle walk back, dressed in her second outfit for the set, speaking to the audience with a warm smile, “You didn’t think I’d be crying the rest of the night, did you?” It was easy to get caught up, but that also speaks to how invested on an almost unconscious we all were by that point, and how the performers held us in the pleasant trappings of love.

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