Solange Danforth Music Hall, Toronto, ON, February 22
Published Feb 23, 2013Solange Knowles is, for the lack of a better term, killing it right now. Since dropping her spellbindingly elegiac single "Losing You" last fall, she has become one of the most fascinating stories currently circulating the music industry. Sure there is that last name of hers and who she shares it with, but more than that is her remarkable comeback in a career that has seen a few false starts and a bold admission that she wasn't what you thought she was, which was detailed in 2010's "Fuck the Industry (Signed Sincerely)."
The announcement of her Toronto gig saw an immediate switch in venue from the stylish Hoxton to the cavernous Danforth Music Hall. Without any seismic push from the mainstream (she is now signed to Terrible Records, the boutique label co-owned by Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor), Solange has risen up through the indie community and reinvented herself with help from Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange), who's arguably the modish man in music.
Sold-out and jam-packed, the venue erupted when Solange and her magnificent mane strolled on stage, following Hynes, who is an official member of her six-piece band. Beginning with the silky groove-laden "Some Things Never Seem to Fucking Work," she quickly established a rapport with the crowd, flipping her hair and striking poses in a frock that can only truly be described as "Solange-esque." Her moves may have been choreographed, but the way they flowed from Solange and her bandmates — who occasionally synchronized with her — came off both natural and immaculate.
Showcasing her recent True EP, Solange got the crowd moving with the synthetic-funk of "Locked in Closets" and newest single "Lovers in the Parking Lot." But for fans who have been around longer than a couple of months, she also dug out a few cuts from her vastly overlooked 2008 full-length, Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. Woozy slow jam "Cosmic Journey" (sans Bilal, of course) and the attitude-soaked Motown kiss-off "T.O.N.Y." added more nuance to the new R&B sound she's fashioning.
Saving her biggest and best for last, she closed with "Losing You," the song everyone was waiting for, which was most evident by the screams and the rippling waves of bodies moving. Surprisingly, Solange came back out for one more, dropping modest Sol-Angel hit "Sandcastle Disco" to the delight of both new and old fans.
Everything is coming up roses at the moment for Solange. With a new album in the wings, a tight and spotless touring band, and Dev Hynes by her side, she seems destined to catch that star that previously eluded her. This performance was all the proof she needed to convince anyone. She killed it.