M.I. Blue The Garrison, Toronto ON, February 16
Published Feb 17, 2018Eschewing the presenter introductions that preceded each of the night's sets before — and with them the avuncular hyping instructions to "make some noise!" and "get louder!" — M.I. Blue approached the chatty crowd, took the mic and indicated that if this was going to work, everyone was going to have to tune in and get with the vibe: "Slow and mellow," Blue indicated.
So when chatter at the bar didn't wane with the lapping tidal recordings and volume swells Blue cued up in the mix, it was time to shut it down and start from scratch. The downtempo neo-soul wanderings Blue deals in are brief and delicate meditations built to be absorbed through open attention and focused concentration, and Blue guided them with a rightfully uncompromising and assertive hand. But despite Blue's efforts to play on her own terms, unfortunately, the whole set was plagued with sound issues, so if it wasn't the bar noise interfering, the monitors weren't loud enough or a laptop sequence was miscued. Blue dazzled with a handful of new tracks nevertheless, and a calm patience permeated the room, illustrated by audience members swimming around in their own heads.