Omar Apollo Puts the Rock in Paradise Rock Club

This past Tuesday I had not one, not two, not even three, but FOUR final tests in my classes. So, as one might expect, I decided to unwind by finishing my day with an Omar Apollo concert.

Omar Velasco, more widely known as Omar Apollo, is a 22-year-old singer who is just hitting his stride. Originally from Hobart, Indiana, Apollo’s music is soft, funky, and everything in between. After blowing up overnight with the release of his single “Ugotme” in 2017, Apollo quickly became well known in the indie-pop community. His music defies typical genres, successfully blending sounds associated with R&B, Jazz, Latin, and Pop. Since 2017 he has released two EPs and a number of collaborations with other well known artists. 

Photo Credit: Lindsay Ellary

Apollo’s concert was first opened by Silver Sphere, an endearing 18-year-old girl who donned a sequined dress and a big smile. Silver Sphere’s energy was infectious and she quickly had the crowd swaying along. While a lot of her songs sounded the same, they were undeniably catchy. The singer’s dedication to her small fanbase was also apparent. She met with fans after her set and even handed out free T-shirts. I could tell that Silver Sphere was grateful to be on tour with an artist like Omar Apollo.

The second opener was Alexander 23, one of my favorite smaller artists. I saw Alexander 23 open at another concert back in March and I have been listening to him ever since. His energy and enthusiasm for his music were obvious then, and this time it was no different. Alexander 23’s vocals and guitar skills were both excellent. Although the crowd was impatient to see Omar, I could tell the people around me were impressed by Alexander 23 and his style. His cover of “Party in the USA” by Miley Cyrus had everyone singing along. If you haven’t heard of his music, I would definitely recommend checking him out. 

Photo Credit: Aaron Dee

Omar Apollo finally came out around 10:00. Unfortunately, I was standing in the back behind some really tall boys and I initially couldn’t get a good glimpse of the singer. However, when I did, I understood why so many girls in the front row were shrieking. Omar Apollo was confident and radiant. His style was impressive, in terms of both fashion and music. The young singer looked fly as hell, donning red pants with flames and a black button-down. His musical range blew me away too, many of his songs fluctuating between Spanish and English lyrics. Some of Apollo’s songs were slow and sensual, while others were upbeat and dancey. His fans screamed his lyrics back at him; Apollo eating up every bit of it. His dance moves were contagious and the crowd was quickly dancing along with the beat.

This concert was a change of pace from the ones I typically go to. I usually prefer to see artists that I know super well. I commit to being in the front row, showing up early to secure my spot. I digest the setlist weeks beforehand, ensuring that I know the songs that will be performed. I didn’t do any of this prior to the Omar concert. I showed up a little late, stood in the back, and only knew a few of his songs. However, this change of pace was much needed. It felt nice to sit back and watch his super fans in the front row. Although I wasn’t necessarily the biggest Omar Apollo fan going in, I definitely left with a sense of appreciation for his talent and the energy he brought to the Paradise Rock Club. It also showed me that you don’t have to know an artist’s work front to back in order to appreciate their music.

If you haven’t listened to Omar Apollo, Alexander 23, or Silver Sphere, I highly recommend that you check them out. These young artists are paving the way for other indie-pop artists and will undoubtedly be names you’ll hear about in the future.

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