Concert Review: Tori Kelly Brings Her Unbreakable Smile Back To Houston!

Written by on April 15, 2016

The stars would not be aligned if Tori Kelly came to Houston and I wasn’t in attendance, right? Well, with doors opening at 7 p.m., fans were already flooding the sidewalk hours before in preparation for her performance on Sunday night at the Revention Music Center.

Unbreakable Smile Album Cover
The 23-year-old Grammy-nominated singer is back at it again with the vocals promoting her album Unbreakable Smile and Houston was blessed with a tour stop that drew an unbelievable crowd! Along for the ride is Thirdstory, a New York-based trio who stemmed from YouTube and is promoting their original music on the tour, as well! Having heard them for the first time during soundcheck, I knew they would be just what the crowd needed and I’m overcome with a feeling that I’m very late to the party that is Thirdstory. Taking on the crowd at exactly 8 p.m., they were the perfect recipe to hype up the fans for what would be an exciting night.

Consisting of members Richard Saunders, Ben Lusher and Elliott Skinner, the phrase that comes to mind when they perform is – unbelievably angelic. After the first note, it’s clear that their voices were made for harmonizing and it all comes together naturally. With a little Hozier mixed within, the trio still has something that I’ve never heard before…and I need more of it. While they are currently working on their debut LP set to release sometime in the fall with Verve/Universal Music Group, Thirdstory gained some newfound fans who can’t wait to hear more of their original songs (“G Train” is so important and I need it).

IMG_0055With no one leaving their claimed spots in the audience behind, it was a 30-minute wait before the lights turned down and the crowd grew wild. Her band in tow, Kelly made her entrance and started the night off with “Where I Belong” from her debut album Unbreakable Smile to introduce herself to the stage before knocking out countless hits.

IMG_0220Aside of two songs, Kelly performed the entire Unbreakable Smile album and more from her past EPs! She even asked for help and let the crowd be Ed Sheeran for about three minutes during “I Was Made For Loving You,” a duet between the two. Trying not to give the entire experience away, new and old fans alike were treated to the songs that she is renowned for that span over the last few years and tunes that she had not performed live before.

Having three shows under my belt, Tori Kelly still manages to bring a new experience and new elements to her tours every time. Similar to her last Houston show in October, Kelly recalls her first Houston performance in 2013 where only a handful were in attendance at the House of Blues and how she was thankful for the packed house that greeted her at the Revention Music Center that night.


It was the House of Blues, but like the small room in the House of Blues and just to see you guys here right now is insane so thank you for being here, and shout out to you if you were at that show by the way…


She’s right. The Bronze Peacock Room is incredibly small. As I recall this entire experience and being surrounded by so many people so early, I was overwhelmed, shocked and proud all at once. That room is where I first witnessed Tori Kelly and her unearthly talent live. Any row you were standing in was the first row because the room and the crowd were so small. There were no barricades, security, and you could have left your spot in line and it was guaranteed to be there for the duration of your absence. Having no band, you watched her father set up her guitar instead of a crew fiddling with multiple instruments and wires. It is absolutely amazing to witness the growth of an artist. Each Houston appearance brings her to a bigger venue so it won’t be long before she brings a full house to the Toyota Center!

The night consisted of hundreds of voices fighting to keep up with the unearthly vocals and riffs that come so naturally to Kelly and other surprises. During the encore, she even jumped on a second drum set alongside Charles Streeter where she spent a few minutes hashing it out on the drums. With a small intro to Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” she completely killed it proving that her talent is endless! Between guitar switches and songs about dreams, love, heartbreak and staying true to yourself, drum sticks and guitar picks were being thrust into the crowd as fans gathered in hopes of being the lucky ones to catch them. I even caught glimpses of a few fans who had tears in their eyes from having connections to her songs like “Beautiful Things” and from a little girl who retrieved a guitar pick belonging to someone she looked up to.

Overall, Tori Kelly and Thirdstory put on an unforgettable performance and I can’t wait to be in the same room with these acts again! Anyone who catches a stop during the tour will have memories to last a lifetime and it will definitely be a concert for the books!

IMG_6457Did you go to the show? Leave us a comment down below or tweet me here and tell us your favorite part or what you thought about it! Seriously, tell me everything!

Be sure to check out the links below to connect with Tori Kelly and Thirdstory. Seriously…go be their friend.

Tori Kelly: iTunes | Spotify  | Twitter | Instagram| Facebook

Thirdstory: YouTube | Twitter | Facebook

Thanks for reading!


By Rae Tolbert

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