PHONY PPL + Sylo Nozra @ Le Belmont – 3rd October 2019

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On 3rd October, Phony Ppl treated audiences to a night of funk and neo-soul with an intimate gig at Le Belmont, with support from Sylo Nozra

Waiting to enter Le Belmont it’s evident that this is a tight-knit crowd and I overhear multiple people talking about support act Sylo Nozra as though he is a close friend. 

Hailing from Toronto, RnB artist Sylo Nozra has been slowly gathering a loyal fan base across North America since 2016.

Inspired by classical RnB and neo-soul, he’s become known in the industry for layering velvety vocals over equally smooth beats. 

It’s his first show in Montreal, which attracts warm shouts of welcome from the crowd. As is typical of RnB, the theme of much of his music is romantic love and passion, however, some of his songs also dwell on self-love. 

‘Desire’ from his 2017 EP Fervor stands out as a hit single. This is Sylo at his best and the crowd is captivated. 

Sylo has strong chemistry with his band and this is evident as they all vibe together throughout the performance. It almost feels as though they’re unaware of the audience, they’re so into the music that they’re creating. 

It’s a good opening act which ends all too soon. It’s clear that this is only the beginning of Sylo Nozra’s musical career. 

I’d spotted members of Phony Ppl in the crowd dancing throughout Sylo Nozra’s set, so it’s slightly surreal to see them now under the harsh lights of the stage. 

The five-man band bring so much energy it’s contagious. It’s only minutes before every member of the audience, both sat above, on the stairs and on the floor, are up and moving. 

Their music cannot be defined by one genre. They experiment with ballads and soul and funk, playing whatever sounds good and having fun with it. 

Lead vocalist Elbee Thrie has all the enthusiasm of a church preacher, sharing wisdom with the crowd such as ‘moving that ass is all fine and dandy but make sure you move that mind too!’

From Brooklyn, New York, Phony Ppl formed in high school, and the five have been making music ever since. 

Seeing them live adds a whole new dynamic to their music. There is so much energy and personality that isn’t captured in a recording. 

The ending song (aside from a last-minute encore) is ‘Why ii Love the Moon’ from their 2015 album Yesterday’s Tomorrow and most played song by far. It’s a perfect end to a dreamy night, which has all of the audience singing and swaying together.

Review – Kate Spree

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