REVIEW: Ryan Beatty flashes star potential in sold-out performance

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Ryan Beatty played the first of two sold-out nights Monday at the Moroccan Lounge. Beatty has previously collaborated with artists such as Kevin Abstract of Brockhampton. (Sasha Reiss/Daily Trojan)

Each year, queer voices and stories take on an increasingly prominent role in the music industry. While pop mainstays like Halsey and Troye Sivan continue to push portrayals of the queer experience to the masses, subversive acts like Brockhampton and King Princess are expertly telling historically undermined stories on an unprecedented scale.

With his debut album and subsequent tour, singer-songwriter Ryan Beatty is working to continue his upward trajectory and inject his own creative perspective into the fiber of the music industry. Drawing heavily from influences like Frank Ocean and The Internet, Beatty has laid the groundwork for what could be a greatly fruitful career. His debut “Boy In Jeans” displays talent and charisma, a mere taste of the performer within Beatty. His performance at the Moroccan Lounge on Jan. 28 was another sign that the R&B/alt-pop artist is just about to take flight.

The show opened with a euphoric rendition of the opener “Haircut,” an anthem made for the larger scale of a live show, which showcased Beatty’s emotionally raw vocals. Subsequent performances of “Money” and “Camo” benefited just as much from the live performances, with the live instrumentation providing justice to Beatty’s excellent recordings. Accompanied by a drummer, guitarist and bass player, Beatty expanded on the world of the album and produced a tangible performance atmosphere distinct from many other up-and-coming artists. Despite a few unavoidable technical mishaps, the production was superb.

Beatty carefully weaved in moments of intimacy throughout the production. The track “Party’s Over” notably showcased his emotions, which Beatty himself said was “hard to sing.” The song details infatuation that remains unreciprocated, artfully conveying a longing for connection through Beatty’s emotive delivery and haunting lyrics.  

The show itself seemed destined for a small audience. The stage did not allow for much smoke and mirrors, but the rectangular LED screen was all Beatty needed to create the perfect ambiance for each song.

Aside from  the sound quality, it was Beatty’s connection to his audience that made the show memorable. Beatty’s shy nature combined with his quiet self-assuredness is a refreshing change of pace from the big personalities seen on top-40 world tours. His laid-back attitude and approachability allowed the audience to connect with his words on a deeper level.

Though undoubtedly shy, Beatty expressed his gratitude to the audience and eventually revealed his more playful personality. At the end of the show, he reflected on his journey back to the Los Angeles stage, ironically blessing himself in prayer and more seriously conceding how much more comfortable he has become in his own skin.

The set closed with a strong performance of “Flash,” a fitting end to a show that featured a range of emotions and resilience. The conclusive track relates the fleeting nature of life and its uncontrollably rapid pace. A homage to his father, the song gained new meaning in the eyes of the audience, who was surely not ready for Beatty to leave the stage.

While the brash, visceral electronically influenced stage production was incredible, it was Beatty’s raw vulnerability that made the set so wonderful.