Published Aug 06, 2018Dev Hynes, aka Blood Orange, is someone who functions on an entirely different plane than most. With lyrics rooted in real-world politics, but with melodies that flutter through the air to jazzy brass, drums and synth-pop beats, Hynes — producer, guitarist, pianist, singer and dancer — is a fluid, ineffable force.
Taking to the stage to a modest crowd in promotion of his upcoming release, Negro Swan, Hynes launched into "Everything Is Embarrassing," the Sky Ferreira track that Hynes wrote and produced from behind his keyboard. Accompanied by a backing band and two excellent backup singers, Hynes moved into "Desirée" off the 2016 album Freetown Sound; the voice of the late Venus Xtravaganza floated over the crowd mid-way through. With VHS video footage of men in parking lots riding motorcycles and 4-wheelers, Blood Orange continued on with "Augustine" and "You're Not Good Enough" off Cupid Deluxe to a steadily growing audience.
As the band continued, the footage on screen was overplayed by other videos, like an Outkast interview with John Reed from 1998, and the 2005 video for "Like You" from Ciara and Bow Bow. Strange, yes, but also wonderful. Throwing in a couple of Michael Jackson-worthy dance moves, a handful of guitar solos and some new songs from the upcoming album — notably "Charcoal Baby" — Blood Orange kept it delicate, subtle even, while still giving everything that the audience was looking for.
Ending with a short acoustic song that brought Hynes himself to tears, he left the stage with a short thank you, a towel pressed to his face.