It's official: R&B singer-songwriter Miguel is kind of a big deal. Being recently nominated for five Grammy Awards tends to boost the mainstream cool rating a few notches.
Clad in a trim grey suit/red shirt/gold chain combo that wouldn't have looked out of place in the late-'80s, the Los Angeles native strutted on stage with the confidence of an artist well beyond his years. Overall, dude can sing. Judging from the crowd, Miguel Jontel Pimentel has largely recovered from the overlooked 2010 album All I Want is You, cleverly leveraging social media via his free Art Dealer Chic Vol. 1-3 EPs and carving out a dedicated following.
Mainly covering tracks from this year's well-received Kaleidoscope Dream album, Miguel experienced the "short discography disconnect" all new artists have, where the crowd loses their shit for the hit and/or fan favourite tracks ("Sure Thing," "Use Me," "Do You...") and provide a lesser reaction for the rest. The less-than-subtle "Pussy Is Mine" sounded better performed live than on the actual record. "I'm sure you can tell I'm kind of a freak," Miguel playfully told the crowd between songs.
Things were kept simple — zero backup singers, a five-piece band and no costume changes, save for a short spurt of sans-shirtedness targeted to the male physique admirers in the almost-full house. The 70-minute set also saw Miguel deliver a solid workmanlike effort ("All these women got me feeling good up in here!") and even managed to work in some Tupac (for a clever segue into his 2010 track "Quickie") and Bob Marley ("Stir it Up"), appropriate enough for the weed haze that filled the air.
By the time he closed things out with his current hit "Adorn," one got the sense that Miguel is an artist who will only get better with time. Not that it was a bad show in the least; one suspects that he could play the exact same set in Toronto this time next year and the audience response and discography recognition would be kicked up a notch.