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all photos: Lauren Bulbin

Life was given Tuesday night at 9:30club when the Sol-Angel that is the younger sister to the queen diva supreme Beyonce blessed us with her vocal talents. As a fan, this will be delivered as a fan, for the fans, because, well, Solange Knowles is all about her fans.

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Despite a previously cancelled Black Cat appearance, she delivered the goods in full for her rescheduled appearance. My life was made just a bit more complete by this show, and to those who attended, I only hope the same emotion was shared.

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Opened by a fairly unknown (at least to me and the group of seven plus friends I was with) crooner, Roman Gianarthur, the night was very sensual from the jump. Intended or not, everyone was about ready to break into some serious love making before Miss Knowles stepped even one foot on the famed stage. More on the opener, their music was a funk-soul infusion that made you want to rock with them, however, not impactful enough to warrant and iTunes download. The lead was at a 27, where is backup guitarist/vocalist was at a cool seven—he needed to be much closer to her energy level. One highlight which definitely struck a chord with my crew, and quite literally the entire venue, was their cover of neo-soul diva Erykah Badu‘s mega hit “Bag Lady“.

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Back to our regularly scheduled programming, Solange Knowles—the lady has a serious set of pipes on her… clearly derived from the Knowles family genes. No mention of her famed older sibling was made, nor was it needed. This young woman has made enough of an impact on contemporary soul music with her first album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St Dreams (her actual first album, to myself, and much of her fan base, is something we don’t speak of nor acknowledge) that comparisons are reductive if anything. Solange is a true master at blending her motown influences with the more modern sounds of the Coachella-leaning ears of today’s youth.

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Starting the night strong with tracks off her EP T R U E , this writer was up in arms at “Some Things Never Seem to F-cking Work” followed by “Don’t Let Me Down”. Not one to dismiss her day one fans, she took things back a few steps with the autobiographical track “T.O.N.Y.”—a moment that truly separated the casual listeners from the die-hard followers. She kept the momentum going segueing back and forth between her ‘first’ album and her recently-ish released EP.

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The biggest surprise of the night came in the form of a Selena cover of “I Could Fall In Love With You“—for those unaware (and you damn well should be; seriously, who hasn’t seen the biopic starring JLO), she was a famous latin music singer who made waves both here and in Latin America. An unexpected song selection, but one that was a pleasant breather amidst her dance heavy set.

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Not to completely binge on the amaze balls milk of Solange without care or restraint, there were some not so pleasant points. For one, her set lasted only an hour—for a show that was previously cancelled, and for an artist who RARELY EVER TOURS OR DOES LIVE SHOWS, this was beyond disappointing. Her high level of appeal, especially in our area, was evidenced by how quickly this show sold out the first time, and then again the second. For that, we deserved at least an addition half-hour, maybe even more.

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My solitary issue separate from the brevity of the set, was the lack of actual back catalogue material she pulled out. While it’s understandable that this tour is to promote her current EP and upcoming album; there were so many gems from her ‘first’ album which were sadly overlooked. Not to sound ungrateful, she did perform “Cosmic Journey” and “Sandcastle Disco”—two favorites—not to mention the unreleased cover of Dirty Projectors‘ “Stillness is the Move“; but many of us still felt a bit unfulfilled by her set offerings.

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All in all, the night was one not to be forgotten easily—sadly, time will only tell when Solange will finally get around to releasing her next album, and even more so when she’ll be back to DC again. I pity the fool who missed out on this blue moon of a concert, but pray that these photos do enough to ease the pain of your carelessness. For now, let her musical efficacy provide you with sustenance as her EP T R U E is available now on iTunes and streaming for free on Spotify.

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Setlist

  • Some Things Never Seem to F-cking Work
  • Don’t Let Me Down
  • T.O.N.Y.
  • Bad Girls (Verdine Version)
  • I Could Fall in Love with You (Selena cover)
  • Looking for Trouble (Extended Version)
  • Locked In Closets
  • Cosmic Journey
  • Lovers in the Parking Lot
  • Losing You

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Encore

  • Stillness is the Move (Dirty Projectors cover)
  • Sandcastle Disco

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