Rita Ora Played the Independent in San Francisco (REVIEW)

in SF Concert Reviews by

When Rita Ora exclaimed last night in San Francisco that, “Tonight, it’s all about p**** powerrrrr!” the female portion of the close-to-sold-out crowd at The Independent went wild. Ora was making it clear that this evening it was going to be ladies first. In fact, she confided in an interview with Ebro on Hot 97, that her U.S. debut is “really about how we get judged for the things that we do and how men don’t,” she explained. “I know it’s part of society, but I think we can still stick together as females. And also, I feel like at the moment, females have never been closer — pop stars, specifically. It’s an exciting time for females in this industry.”

It was an exiting time for everyone in the club that night as well, when Ora finally appeared onstage and opened the show by urging her crowd of fans to “Make some noizzzzzze!” She then lunged quickly into her most famous hit to date, R.I.P., twirling around the stage, singing, dancing, gyrating and flinging her long golden mane freely to the beat of the catchy pop anthem. The crowd followed suit and let loose as they sang along to the chorus of the popular song written by Drake that Rihanna famously passed on. She quickly jumped into “Black Widow” for an equally amazing performance that would have been legendary had Iggy Azalea hopped onstage beside her for a rapping cameo.

The rest of the night consisted of Ora stringing together hit after hit while performing with a unique combination of sex appeal and grace that has made her a hit with audiences everywhere. In between songs she took the opportunity to channel her inner sailor, and dropped an assortment of F-bombs and other salacious words, but was cute about it and later admitted, “I can’t swear back home in the U.K.,” she said. “So I need to let it all out tonight!”

Ora hasn’t performed in the U.S. in over two years, but acknowledged how much she’s grown since. “There were literally 15 people in the audience the last time time I played here,” Ora said. “I feel like we’ve outgrown that tonight!” Rita has definitely outgrown that as she’s been working with fellow U.K. acts including Ed Sheeran and Disclosure, while her first U.S. single with Chris Brown dropped just a couple of weeks ago. Her second full length LP is set to drop in November via Roc Nation.

When you see Ora on stage, her charisma and charm is so intoxicating that it’s hard to imagine that she suffers from a crippling phobia. The 24-year-old singer confided to Mirror that she’s received counseling from an early age to combat panic attacks. Last night all her fears seemed non-existent as she confidently took the stage and charmed a room full of strangers, even if at times her behavior bordered on naughty flirtatiousness. Like, for example, when she told the lucky guy in the front row, “What’s up sir? I like your tight shirt. I can see your titties.” She snickered and the young man didn’t seem to mind, but neither did the rest of the audience that by the end of the night was entirely under her spell.

Photo courtesy of Examiner.com

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.