All Words: Esther Hur
All Photos: Lauren Bulbin, from her show at 9:30 earlier this year
Solange was the most down to earth performer I’ve encountered. “Down to earth” is used a lot to describe musicians. We see an artist who is moderately polite, and we’re surprised because we expect them to be cold and egotistical. Which is why we are easily impressed by the occasional, “Thanks for coming” or “Love you guys, wouldn’t be here without you.” Most performers are averagely polite.
It was like she came to see us. She was more into the audience than the performance itself. Most artists strictly perform and aim to lose themselves in their own performances, which is also an engaging spectacle, but with that, there’s a divided experience between artist and audience. Solange was looking for a connection with her audience. She wanted to sing to faces. Not long into the show she asked the technicians to lower the spotlight so she could see the audience. She asked for this about three times throughout the show, “Can I see them once more?” she said. The spotlight went off and all of the lights went on bare, stripping the eighties dance mood, making it the most intimate, connected show I’ve been to. She looked through the audience and when she was done, she smiled. The lights went down and the show continued. It was like her pitch perfect sound was just a backdrop for a meet and greet. Every line, she’d look for someone who would sing back to her.
She told us that she received a lot of tweets about this DC audience being the most fashionable, which was true. Solange is known for her unique style and her influence was reflected in the audience. The tribal patterned crop tops, thick rimmed glasses, and flat tops, had me feeling like I was in a RUN DMC music video. She took the stage in a one of a kind, black and white Houndstooth pattered one piece. Her hair was long and braided and worked as the centerpiece of her ensemble. If you’ve seen her music video for “Lovers in the Parking Lot”, you’ll know that Solange likes to dance comfortably. She doesn’t dance to arouse anybody; she dances to have fun. Her quirky dance moves brought the audience to their feet and raised cheers and applause all night long. After her last track, she went from one end of the stage to the other, greeting every person she could reach. Her soulful mix of Motown funk and eighties pop was secondary to her warm stage presence that had me feeling like I’d lost a good friend when she left the stage for the last time.