Best Live Act: Abdu Ali

Just a few years ago, Abdu Ali was a fringe queer noise-rap act and everybody who saw him perform wondered aloud why he wasn’t bigger or shutting down shows across the country. These days, Ali is doing exactly that as one of the most notable performers in the city and as a storm of energy tearing through DIY spots across the country. His shows move from sing-alongs and, occasionally, cry-alongs to gnarly, elbow-throwing quasi-mosh pits with Ali at the front, scatting, screaming, rapping, singing, seemingly possessed. And his music has finally caught up to his live show with his recent release, “Mongo,” a masterfully splintered, chaotic album that sometimes coalesces into moments of cathartic club music. It feels the most like an Ali performance: intimate, raw, real—too real, even.

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