From the moment Solange emerged onto the dimly lit stage at NYC’s Bowery Ballroom last night (Dec. 11), the singer-songwriter took ahold of everyone’s attention.
Expected whispers of whether her older sister, Beyoncé, was in attendance were quickly laid to rest and forgotten.
Solange was accompanied on stage by Dev Hynes, who co-wrote and produced her 7-track EP, “True” (2012), which has brought newfound adoration and attention to the singer whose last album, “Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams” (2008) didn’t make much of an impact on the charts, selling 197,000 copies to date.
No matter, as since then Solange has built up enough indie credibility to call upon impressive names for collaboration. Hynes’ music influence and physical presence on stage was as natural fit for Solange as on wax. She donned a leisure suit pulled straight from the wallpapered halls of “The Royal Tenenbaums” almost perfectly matching Hynes’ sharp camel-colored jacket. The two started with “Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work,” with Solange’s voice sounding heavenly. Her background singers echoed as they swayed synchronized along to the electronic downbeat. “Don’t Let Me Down” followed, Solange’s Motown influence shining through, catchy “baby, baby” lyrics in tow.
After thanking the crowd for showing up, Solange teased, “I want to bring out an old friend, you might know him as…” before breaking right into “T.O.N.Y.,” an ode to one night stands from “Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams.” The cute tease might’ve been lost on the audience, who, by now, barely noticed that the “special guest” wasn’t any particular famous brother-in-law or Bey’, although indeed in the upper tier of the venue.
Solange sped through “True” tracks, including “Lovers In The Parking Lot,” “Bad Girls,” and “Locked in Closets” — all accompanied by her now-signature two-step and the layered “ooohs” so clean that they could barely be identifiable as live. Psychedelic guitar solos matched the suspicious smoke slowly rising from the audience. “I might get in trouble for saying this, but now is time you should be lighting up,” Solange warned before starting “Bad Girls.”
At last, Solange broke out “Losing You,” the funky, bubbly lead single off “True.” “I need you to leave here a little sweatier than that,” Solange encouraged, while stepping those signature dance moves ripped from the song’s music video.
And although her 2008 effort didn’t leave a dent on the charts, it was evident that it left a heartfelt impression on those in attendance. Everyone excitedly sung along to “Sandcastle Disco” as Solange jumped into the audience, mobbed by the flashes of cell phone cameras begging to further filter and brag. Despite being a part of Solange’s former musical life, one where she worked with Cee-Los instead of Grizzly Bears, “Sandcastle Disco” easily fit right into the short set and confidently ended the show.