SOLANGE at the Danforth Music Hall, Saturday, July 13. Rating: NNN
Solange's utterly adorable crouchy dance moves have become so ubiquitous (at least among late-twentysomething hipster Torontonians), that you forget they're actually hers. And even with an impressive mane of Cosby-era-Lisa-Bonet-level braids hanging to mid-thigh, she boogied through her one-hour set, occasionaly flicking that hair elegantly behind her.
Sometime several months ago it became very cool to love Solange. And there are lots of reasons for that. She has impeccable fashion-forward style, last fall's EP was an irresistible nugget of refreshing pop-soul that spawned one of the coolest videos of the year for Losing You, as well as that song's place on every 18-35-year-old woman's dance-party playlist (putting her in Robyn territory). And, well, she oozes cool. But for all her natural it-factor magnetism, her live show (her second in Toronto in five months) doesn't really wow. In fact, most of the songs sound better on record, as Solange's lyrics got somewhat lost and she relied maybe a little too much on her two backup singers. (Why, I wonder, because when unleashed, her singing voice was incredible - better than her records can showcase.)
Still, I'm not sure I've heard so many high-pitched shrieks of appreciation from fans. And when the beat from one of her better tunes would drop - like during her encore, when she performed the delicious 60s-Motown-inspired I Decided from her 2008 album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams - you couldn't not love the moment. It's like in the ballet movie Center Stage, when Jody's trying out for the American Ballet Academy:
"Not enough turnout. Bad feet."
"Yeah, but, look at her!"