Listening to Lion Babe’s soulful and laid-back second album Cosmic Wind creates a sense of warm relaxation. Jillian Hervey’s lush vocals meld smoothly with producer Lucas Goodman’s funky disco beats. Together, the duo has created an album that’s a perfect soundtrack for a chilled hang-out.
On Lion Babe’s Cosmic Wind Tour, this duo creates yet another otherworldly experience with their music. Led by Jilian Hervey’s electric and magnetic stage presence, new energy revitalizes some of their sleepiest tracks. On just their second day of touring, Lion Babe proved that they can roar at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia.
Trained in modern, ballet, and the Modern Graham technique, it’s no surprise that dance serves as an important element of Jillian Hervey’s concert performance. Her confident, graceful movements have a hypnotic quality, attracting concert-goers' attention. In the small and cozy venue, Hervey easily connected with the audience, and soon the entire crowd was swaying along with her every move.
The songs “Into Me” and “Sexy Please,” imbibe the same infectious and empowering confidence. During the performances of these songs, the venue adopts the atmosphere of a dance club. Thanks in part to her inherent poise and superstar level stage presence, Hervey melds buttery vocals with sultry dance to create a potent, if subtle, power. She waves golden silk around her as she dances, creating a goddess-like aura. Meanwhile, Goodman serves as a consistent hype-man, backing Hervey’s performance up with his soulful guitar rhythms and electric beats while nodding at his partner.
On other songs, Lion Babe strays from their superstar personas and dip into the relatability of bedroom pop. Before performing, Hervey moves closer to the audience, asking them if they had ever felt as if they didn’t belong anywhere. Slower-paced and candid on “Different Planet,” she sings about feeling alienated from others. Fittingly, Hervey’s dance movements become less fluid and more robotic, embodying her otherworldly feelings.
On “When I Told You I Loved,” Hervey spins a similar story of loneliness after experiencing unrequited love. For the first time since entering the stage, she is still. Singing into the microphone, one can hear her voice crack ever so slightly under the weight of her unsettled emotions. One can’t help but feel her pain, her sorrow, her loneliness. Just her voice becomes the performance, and she’s able to demonstrate her raw, talented vocal abilities.
Before performing “Western World,” Hervey grabs a cowboy hat. Here, Hervey swaps loneliness for independence and strength, dancing with newfound and unbreakable confidence.
Just before the final few songs, the duo brings on Philadelphia native Bilal to perform “Can I See It,” which the neo-soul artist is featured on. Together, the artists put on what felt like an old-school R&B performance—smooth and soulful, full of falsettos and harmonies.
This duo has mastered the art of duality. Goodman's talented beats and instrumentals serve the foundation onto which Hervey can meld dance with vocal intensity. When paired, the two create a musical performance that needs to be seen to be fully appreciated.