This past Friday night in Toronto, Sudan Archives’ brought her Homecoming Tour to The Axis Club. Brittney Parks, the 25-year-old singer, producer, and violinist better known as Sudan Archives, turned the iconic west-end venue into her very own raucous prom celebration.
Opening with “Home Maker”, the Ohio native’s set largely consisted of songs from her most recent album Natural Brown Prom Queen, which was released last month. Clad in black leather, Parks proclaimed that she didn’t attend her prom and would be turning the Axis Club into her own prom to make up for it. The prom theme carried through most of the night with Sudan Archives’ hand-picked ‘Bubble Bitch’ taking the stage to throw balloons out into the crowd. A lucky fan at the front of the stage was chosen as the prom queen by Sudan Archives, complete with a sash.
The Canadian dates on the first leg of Sudan Archives’ Homecoming Tour were almost in jeopardy. Parks regaled the crowd with the story of how she had lost her passport and how that almost threw a wrench in her touring plans. The situation was remedied by having a friend retrieve her passport, flying the friend out to Seattle, and crossing the border into Canada.
Since bursting onto the scene with her 2019 debut album Athena, Parks has effortlessly blended R&B, rap, classical, folktronica, dance, and pop. That sense of genre defiance translated to the stage as Sudan Archives pivoted with ease from playful pop provocateur (telling the crowd she wanted to have her “titties out” during “NBPQ [Topless]”) to a screaming hardcore vocalist. Stalking the stage with electric intensity, Sudan Archives held the diverse Toronto crowd in the palm of her hand with a sense of ferocity and controlled chaos, feeling very much like a descendant of Grace Jones, Betty Davis, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, LaBelle, and other decorated Black women who dared to rock.
The no-frills stage set-up added to the show often felt more like a DIY punk gig. Only backed by musician Byron Crenshaw, the small stage was sparse with flashing lights and a bit of fog. The Axis Club erupted when Parks pulled out her violin, commanding it like Jimi Hendrix would his guitar. Sudan Archives often utilizes the violin in her music but it’s another story seeing her shredding on it live and in person. Feeling the love, Parks told the crowd multiple times throughout the night that they were fucking lit, and as such she was fucking lit, feeding off that energy, or that could have been the shots of Casamigos that were had during the show.
With this smaller venue tour garnering buzz, her new album receiving rave reviews, and just recently making her TV debut with a performance of “Selfish Soul” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, it increasingly feels like Sudan Archives is an artist poised for super-stardom and ready to make the jump to the next level. The first leg of Sudan Archives’ Homecoming Tour wraps in Los Angeles on October 21 and from there, the second leg picks up in Europe this November.