Janelle Monáe Royal York Hotel, Toronto ON March 12

Janelle Monáe Royal York Hotel, Toronto ON March 12
The moment CMW had been waiting for came a little late, but Indie Awards headliner Janelle Monáe had the audience mystified after taking the stage draped in a ghoulish, face-shielding cloak, walking off of it an hour and a half later. Also present were confetti, several farfallina masks and a dancing rabbi, among other visually captivating live aids. Her cover of Nat King Cole's "Smile" was sweet but sleepy and temporarily dragged down an otherwise psychotically energetic performance, picked back up by the horn-driven "Wondaland." Later, while her doting backing band played on, Monáe spent a few minutes working on a painting she eventually gave to an audience member as a birthday gift when the lights went up -- after checking the fan's ID, of course. Not completely benevolent, Monáe did save the best for last and closed the show with "Cold War" and "Tightrope." As if her earth-shattering singing voice weren't impressive enough, Monáe proved she has some punk rock in her veins and dove into the audience to an epic crowd surf, howling at the top of her lungs all the while.