Show Review: Cautious Clay Wows Audience with Multi-Instrumental Talent

Photography by Cole Matheson

By Megan Doherty

Artist: Cautious Clay

Venue: Paradise Rock Club

When: Wednesday, December 11th

From friends to couples to families, everyone ecstatically waited in the freezing cold to experience Cautious Clay’s music live. The night, filled with his melodic voice, flute, saxophone, and electric guitar solos did not disappoint in the slightest. Joshua Karpeh, professionally known as Cautious Clay, is a contemporary R&B singer, producer, and multi-instrumentalist. He’s currently on his “Context Tour” to support his latest EP entitled Table of Context

Once everyone started defrosting from the wintry weather, the real fun began. With every second ticking by, more fans dominated the venue with their energetic talking, loud laughter, and carefree dancing to the playlist. Then, at ten o’clock, the house lights dimmed, the crowd’s conversations stopped, and Clay took the stage.

The majority of the concert showcased Clay’s musicality.

Alongside the multiple desks and floor lamps scattered throughout the stage, he wowed the audience with his many saxophone and flute solos. Most of his songs embodied a calmer, spiritual feeling. However, when he played the track “Joshua Tree,” stemming from his real name Joshua, everybody broke out dancing. The lamps lit up electric green, the stage lights emitted a royal blue color, and the energy in the room skyrocketed. Fans on the floor were smiling while looking up in awe to the stage with their arms outstretched toward him. To top it off, he ended with a stunning saxophone solo that highlighted his musicality and entranced the crowd. People had trouble deciding whether they wanted to capture the moment on video or simply relish in it.

After performing what I thought was the highlight of the show, he went straight into playing another highlight.

With the stunning production of “Joshua Tree,” I didn't think it was possible to have a more invigorating, mesmerizing performance. However, “Blood Type” managed to generate even more explosive liveliness. During the drop in the chorus centering on a powerful baseline, fans fervently shouted the lyrics, elevating the energy. It looked as though everyone in the venue had their hands up dancing. After the fiery chorus started fading out, the lead guitarist electrified fans with an astonishing, rock-inspired guitar solo. Flashing lights overtook the room, making the stage go black and white while Clay danced around the stage. The band demonstrated their insane musical talent as they added an instrumental part not featured in the original song. It's hard to declare just one song the highlight, but by itself, that ending instrumental won the night.

He revealed his ties to and love of Boston in between songs.

Following his emotionally moving performance of "Stolen Moments," he took time to express how much he appreciates Boston. He revealed that it was only his third time in the city, but he's already fallen in love with it. He said, “It’s just beautiful to be accepted and to be in a place where there’s all different types of people.” 

Also, before playing “Swim Home,” Clay disclosed that he wrote that song with the former Berklee College student John Mayer. This ambient, modern R&B track caught traction after being featured on Netflix's 13 Reasons Why. Fans swayed their arms in the air while listening to Clay’s peaceful voice, fully appreciating this intimate moment. Even though the audience stayed mostly quiet during this song, applause erupted as it came to a close. He created a spiritual feeling from his genuine, honest lyrics and raw performance that enraptured fans. 

Clay closed out the concert with his hit song “Cold War.”

Seemingly everyone in the audience instantly recognized this track. Right as the lyrics came in, the crowd loudly and emphatically sang along. Pink and red lights glowed from the lamps while fans danced as if it were their last chance of the night. One girl felt so connected to Clay's music and lyrics that she began passionately hitting a pole in the middle of the venue with the side of her fist to the beat. The venue was brimming with angelic backing vocals, smooth guitar, and another breath-taking saxophone solo. Needless to say, after this concert I became an instant fan. I even spent the entire T ride home listening to his music because I didn't want the show to end.

The openers brought diverse music to the concert.

New York-based band Rebounder kicked off the show. The indie-rock quartet ripped open the night with monstrous energy. As the crowd filled in, no one hesitated to begin dancing and bobbing their heads to the music. 

Remi Wolf took the stage next. The former American Idol contestant stunned the crowd with her powerful voice and impressive range. She even did a bluesy, R&B rendition of Cee Lo’s “Crazy” that got the crowd screaming the lyrics and passionately dancing along.

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