The amazing Janelle Monae

I figured it was time to update the blog.

Two Sundays ago (June 6, 2010), I went to see Ekykah Badu in concert. I’ve always liked her music, and I was curious to see her live, but the truth is, on her own, I probably would not have bothered to buy a ticket. The real reason I went was because of her opening act, Janelle Monae, who has been getting a lot of buzz lately.  She made a big splash at the last SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST (SXSW) festival last year in Austin, Texas, where tons of bands go to hopefully score a record deal. She got signed to P. Diddy’s label, her new album THE ARCHANDROID just came out.

How do I describe her? A female David Bowie? She raps a little, but mostly sings, and she has a beautiful voice. In her live show, there was also some similarity to Prince, and even James Brown (there was an inside James Brown joke at one point where her “assistant” kept trying to put a cape around her shoulders). Her performance, consisting of just five songs, was electric, with Janelle easily grabbing the attention of everyone in the audience, keeping it throughout her set. Between running around the stage, dancing, and shadowboxing, she was pretty much in constant movement. She had a good backing band (great electric guitarist). And even a pre-recorded movie-credit intro. People were dancing in the aisles, and frankly, if anyone went into that concert not knowing who Janelle Monae is, they left being full aware that she exists, and she is human dynamite.

Badu came on next and did some really heartfelt versions of many of her best songs. She’s got a beautiful voice and seems very comfortable with where she is now in her career. I enjoyed the show, but it was much more mellow than the opening act, and Badu took her time with the songs, many of which lasted quite awhile.

So I’d give a B+ to Badu, but an A+ to Janelle Monae.I cannot wait until Janelle gets to headline her own tour and does more than just 5 songs. I think a full show by her would be amazing.

When the Boston Globe reviewed the show, it gave Janelle as much ink/attention as it did for Badu, which is amazing for an opening act. So I continue to tell anyone who will listen that Janelle is the next big thing. Just check out her new album and find out for yourself. I haven’t been this excited about a new singer in a long time.



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