Arlo Parks Is in Command at Brooklyn Steel

Arlo Parks Is in Command at Brooklyn Steel

September 12, 2022

Arlo Parks – Brooklyn Steel – September 9, 2022

There was a full moon outside Brooklyn Steel on Friday night, but the big circle inside the venue, above a stage decorated with sunflowers, almost certainly represented the sun. Or maybe the flowers were facing the star of the night, Arlo Parks, who shined as bright as any celestial body, providing light and warmth to the room. Her band took the stage first — guitar, bass, synth, drums, saxophone and trumpet — starting big and bold and getting bigger when she took the stage. She was her own hype man, bounding from one side of the stage to the other, dancing along to the opening “Green Eyes,” singing, “Trust how you feel insi-i-i-ide” as everyone in the packed audience followed her motions across the stage, sunflowers tracing the path of their sun. 

Playing her second full house in the city in two nights, Parks has emerged from the pandemic as a full-fledged star and it was easy to see why. Her energy was pure animated, infectious glee, her voice midsummer sunshine, her songs messages of love and hope. An artist of such magnitude, traveling from overseas, might be tempted to scale back on the band; backing tracks, samples and drum loops would have been easy to incorporate into the show. Instead, Parks leaned into her big live band, with plenty of short sparkling guitar solos, heavy dancehall bass, addictive drum rhythms and punctuating horn outros.

Each song had a short intro to reflect its importance in both the set list and the English singer-songwriter’s career. “Eugene” is her favorite to sing (although, from where I was standing, it seemed like they were all favorites), “Black Dog” was an “important one” and came with a mantra for the audience: “I am lucky, I am loved, I am brave, I am in control.” Parks was all of those and then some, whether it be the stripped-back poignance of “Angel’s Song” or the grittier, horn-heavy rave up “Hurt.” Watching her bowl over the crowd with the masses-ready groove of “Too Good” or hearing her voice lead a full-band crescendo in “Sophie” was to witness an artist both loved and in control. Raucous chants of “Arlo!” demanded an encore and “Softly” was ironically the least soft banger of the night, the jubilant audience getting in one final dance and scream as Parks departed the stage, leaving her band for one last moment before the sun set for the night. —A. Stein | @Neddyo

(Arlo Parks plays Roadrunner in Boston on Wednesday.)

Photos courtesy of DeShaun Craddock |

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