ME'SHELL NDEGEOCELLO, at the Opera House, June 28. Tickets: $25-$30. Attendance: 500. Rating: NNN
Wonders and disappointments never cease. The wonder was Me'Shell Ndegéocello and her funky, fusion-filled tunes. The disappointment was the feedback coming from the sound system at the Opera House.
Playing to an audience that got the message anyway, Ndegéocello and her four-piece band truly gave soul a jazz/rock edge as they jammed on every song they played.
The sound crew should have caught the annoying noise resonating from the speakers during soundcheck, but instead it lasted throughout the set, even during the one encore song that was prolonged into a solid 20-minute jam.
Ndegéocello, oblivious to the feedback, experimented with the "romantic" Toronto crowd, playing a couple of newly written songs. The vibe was sex, and when she had everyone melted down like butter she brought up her politics, uniting a spirit among her faithful followers.
Evidently, this show wasn't about her three albums or any of her hits. It was all about playing and shape-shifting the 13 tracks dropped during the hour-and-a-half time slot, with Ndegéocello jumping from vocals to keyboard to bass.
Ndegéocello was born charismatic. That indomitable charm saved an otherwise disastrous show.