Local Current Blog

Review and photos: Emily King brings the heat to the Fine Line

Photos by Mary Mathis/MPR

I’ll have to admit, I was dreading leaving my bed and heated blanket on Thursday night. It was -4°, it still hurt to breathe in the brisk air, and it was snowing. But, I layered two pairs of pants and the thick sweatshirt I only wear in public if it’s really that cold, and I braved the Minnesota weather for Emily King. Happily, so did many others.

The Fine Line space was small, but the energy was anything but as the NYC-based singer-songwriter stepped onto the stage. Going from pitch black, bright pink lights blared behind the band as she began the first chorus of her opening song, “Remind Me” — a song from her new album, Scenery, which came out at midnight. The audience started dancing from the get-go as King’s electrifying stage presence set the mood for a party with her second song “Can’t Hold Me.”

Channeling Michael Jackson in her black pantsuit and leather gloves, King’s moves were as smooth as her singing. She smiled mischievously as she sang and pointed to the guy on the mezzanine who was dancing passionately with his leg up on the railing. “This is all I want to goddamn hear every single day,” I heard him exclaim.

Despite the freezing temperatures, “There’s so much love in this room, I’m already hot,” King said as she prepared to slow things down. After a slew of dance-inducing songs and an almost tropical-sounding melody with “Teach Me” warmed us up, she got us all in our feelings with songs “Down” and “Every Part.”

I’m not an emotional person; I never cry. But you could hear the heartache in King’s voice as she slowly strummed her guitar to “Off Center,” so some tears were indeed shed by me and at least five other people around me.

Ending almost every song with her arms outstretched to the sky and her head tilted back as if she was soaking in the atmosphere, the jazzy vocalist manifested each song she sang — from her upbeat, ’80s-tinged pieces to the songs she wrote when she said she was “feeling down and low.”

What better way to kiss the audience goodbye than with her empowering single, “BYIMM,” an ode to herself for keeping strong when times were hard, and “Distance,” a hopeful song of the heart growing fonder?

Of course, the crowd cheered her back for an encore for which she sang one of her most popular songs, “Georgia,” and finished with “Go Back” from her newly released album.

Verdict: leaving the house in the midst of a polar vortex was worth it. Jennah Bell, King’s opening performer and tour buddy, also helped warm us up with her cozy tunes and soft voice. Singing solo in a baby pink blouse and wide-leg jeans, she took a sip of her tea and sang us a love song from her latest record, The Common Cold, which comes out Feb. 22.

Emily King Setlist
Remind Me
Can’t Hold Me
The Switch
Look at Me Now
Blue Light
Teach You
Every Part
Off Center
Second Guess
Go Back