Solange is near-perfect at the Danforth Music Hall
Meeting up with friends outside the Danforth Music Hall before Solange's Friday night show, it quickly dawned on me that she's every ounce the gay icon that her sister is. I knew from Facebook that the girls would be dressing up, but, wow, this was possibly the best dressed crowd — male and female — that the venue's ever seen. As one friend noted "Solange was our underground Knowles; we've been keeping her sandcastles afloat for years."
The cavernous sloping venue was almost at capacity, awash with the scent of shea butter and coconut oil, emanating perhaps from Solange and her two back up singer's sizeable afros that put even mine to shame.
There was no doubt that she would play all the songs off her 'True' EP in a calculated hour long set. The teaser of an album has been a defining moment in her career as she exits from palatable commercial-enthused pop to a niche future-of-R&B-sound. She's not exactly all grow'd up but she's definitely earning her indie cheetah spots with a little help from her producer Blood Orange a.k.a. Dev Hynes a.k.a. Lightspeed Champion, who, clad in a paisley suit and pant combo, accompanied her on guitar and vocals.
By her side, my photographer spied three bottles of water, a cup of tea and a lonely beer bottle. I wonder if she brought the tea from her dressing room or if she had a handler brew it especially for her, waiting at her pedestal. Was the beer just for cred? Divas and their riders!
Solange opened the night up with "Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work," swaying to herself in a 70s cubist-styled dress that held tightly to her body without shedding a single square centimeter of skin from her ankles upwards. The crowd roared as she pigeon-toe strutted closer onto the stage (is she still learning to dance in heels?), eyes closed, just swaying to herself.
Other highlights included a tribute to the tragically murdered Mexican superstar Selena with "I Could Fall in Love," and "Losing You" the sultry album hit that got my Solange-curious self hooked.
For her encore performance of "Sandcastles Disco" off her previous Mark Ronson produced album "Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams," she invited Phil Villeneuve, (Fab Magazine's current EIC) to strut his stuff along with her as a tribute to his viral pop star video series, which earlier saw him shake his stuff at Bay & Bloor along with Argos cheerleaders.
The party didn't stop at the concert hall. Riding home from Broadview station, I was entertained by a bow-tied dance mafia, blasting "True" from an iPhone and engaging with random TTC passengers, maybe hoping to be the next viral Solange sensation.
Photos by Alejandro Santiago