At the U Street Music Hall this week, Nona Hendryx took the stage embodying a Gospel-Prophet-Punk Rock-Activist, her foxy appearance absolutely not betraying her age (68!) Her ebbulient energy was further proven by her dynamically soaring vocals and energetic dancing, which included her very own booty bounce solo!
All sexiness aside, her soulful lyrics uplifted and inspired, expressing solidarity with the 99 percent and leveling indictments towards social ills such as greed and hate. Just as she named many of the problems facing our world, she equally challenged her fans to love each other and work towards the good, expressing herself with raw authenticity and without saccharine sentimentality.
Her band delivered solid and powerful backup, following her lead as she conducted the highs and lows, seamlessly navigating between soul, Motown, rock, reggae and the blues. The Ballad of Rush Limbaugh, which artfully and hilariously poked fun at the infamous radio personality, was a stylistic departure from her more rousing numbers, but was an incredible combination of spot-on lyrics and bluesy swagger.
Onstage vocalists were not only charismatic and sexy, but complemented Hendryx with lush harmonies. The audience could have been a bit bigger, and there were a few problems with the sound system at the beginning of the show which didn’t go over well with Hendryx, however she quickly moved on to deliver a massively energetic show which culminated in an audience-participated booty bounce contest as well as a rousing encore, the whole audience clapping and dancing as the night wore on.
Next time she graces our Nation’s capital, I hope more DC residents can experience her super accessible yet passionate political and social critiques packaged in her own dynamic blend of soulful rock.