Gig review and pictures: Solange at XOYO, London 17/01/2013

With the way the snow is threatening to decimate the UK over the next few days its a good thing Solange (and t0 think of it the Knicks) came to town on Wednesday.  Who knows what kind of winter mayhem may have ensued if snow became part of the picture… still I digress. Solange’s show was fun, cheeky and with enough throwbacks to Sade’s dancing from years gone by it had enough to warm any winter’s evening (even one with a -2 walk home).

This show only came to light due to the critical acclaim for her recent collaborations with Dev Hynes.  All the kind words are not with out basis because her latest EP, True, includes arguably some of her best music to date; taking away the lollipop soul of Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams and replacing it with a mature sounding funk-indie edge.

Some Things Never Seem To F**king Work felt like a little ironic joke as everything about the arrangements on the night actually did “f**king work”.  A rearrangement of the Pharrel produced Crush, off her debut album (yes, there was one before Sol Angel… she was young, we’ve all been there), was instantly transformed in to a more adult record and made me question my less than fond memories of her debut album.

Highlight of the evening was a surprise duet with Oliver from The XX. Taking Nicole Wray’s timeless cut Make It Hot and creating a dark, bass heavy re-interpretation which screams out to be featured as a b-side to her next single and also sets the mind racing about the atmospheric music the two of them could make together.

Even the T.O.N.Y. had Dev’s touch, small tweaks such as dialing up the lead guitars ever so slightly made for an improvement on an already solid record; its these small touches which made the show, small attention to detail goes a long way, especially live.  Cosmic Journey is one of those songs for which I cannot stand the recorded version, but live it becomes quite sumptuous.
It was not just the remakes, the tracks from True sounded just a great.  Lovers In The Parking Lot was full of  the semi-industrial sounds which litter her new sound.

To many Solange is a style icon, and as she revived Sade’s dance moves with just a little more hip-action she looked every bit as stunning as her bigger sister.  Her presence was lovely, she never dominated the stage just added enough sparkle and style to let you know who was in charge once the the mic comes on.

Ending the night with Losing You, the main reason she is even on this European Tour, was great.  Hopes of an encore were dashed when  the reality hit… True isn’t a long EP.

Solange is an artist who can divide and leave people very much on the fence.  The thing is, after seeing her live a few times now, it seems like she is more comfortable performing on stage than in the studio.  This is why for those not moved by her albums seeing live could go a long way.  And if you like her recent songs you really should try and catch her live before the year is out because going by her previous, she’ll probably take a break then come back with some Nu-Metal for her next album!

Good start to the year.

Rob

Solange at XOYO 03 Solange at XOYO, London Solange at XOYO, London Solange at XOYO, London Solange at XOYO, London Solange at XOYO, London

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