Friday, 9 May 2014

Janelle Monae At The Institute - A Review

Listening to Janelle Monae's album 'The Electric Lady' is no longer fun. After attending yesterdays gig at The Institute in Birmingham, we demand that she follows us around and sings it to us personally. There aren't many artists who you can say sound amazing, if not better live than their polished studio albums, but Janelle ranks in that minuscule list.

The Institute itself is a pretty cool venue, it wasn't our first choice of Metropolis, but as Ms Monae's tickets sell like hot cakes, it was one of the only ones still available. It will be somewhere we will return however, the staff were very polite and friendly which makes a change from certain London based venues. The Institute's size gave the gig an almost intimate feel.

Supporting act Cody ChesnuTT whipped up the crowd with his own brand of Neo Soul and some rather intriguing dance moves, all the while sporting his trade mark helmet. Audience participation and engagement was definitely to be the theme of the evening. He displayed great passion and a fantastically versatile voice, wooing the crowd with a number of tracks from his most recent album 'Landing On A Hundred'.

The act we had all been waiting for arrived on stage in trademark style. Wheeled in by a white lab coated 'technician' and wearing a straight jacket, Janelle burst from her restraints into a rendition of 'Giving 'Em What They Love' and by god did she give us what we loved, tenfold! Other highlights of the evening were a touching 'Cold War' in which she mentioned the current plight of the 200 missing Nigerian school girls, a barn storming 'Electric Lady' which had the crowd convulsing with energy and enthusiasm and 'Come Alive' resulting in everybody in the stalls either sitting or kneeling on the floor, while she teased and enticed us with her vocals.

Swept off her feet Janelle crowd surfs 

Janelle is a fire cracker or more appropriately a stick of dynamite. Whether planned or not she partook in a spot of crowd surfing towards the end of her set and the place literally exploded with excitement. If you can catch a gig or if more dates are announced get your hands on some tickets and you will experience the best show of your life!

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