The opportunity surfaced to attend a SummerStage concert sponsored by Capital One. For this particular concert. The headliner was six time Grammy award nominated artist Janelle Monae. With singer songwriter Nate Ruess as the opening act. The transition between the two acts was headed by DJ Moma.
I’d like to start off by saying. This was my first encounter with Nate Ruess. Nor had I heard of Fun prior to going to this concert. Ruess ripped it. He said that he would sing his ass off and that’s exactly what he did. . It definitely was a nice surprise. Homie ran through six songs before he started to sound winded . I’d also like to add that he was running all over the stage, playing too the crowd with every performance. And even when he started to show human, with breathiness this in no way stunned his aura. That was pretty damn impressive. But the icing on the cake at least fir me , was his band. They killed it. 3 guitarist (one acoustic and two electric). A pianist, kick ass bassist and a drummer. Something really cool that I noticed was how the band was comprised of both women and men. They definitely set the bar really high for me. The energy was definitely thru the roof.
In with DJ Moma, and out with Nate Ruess. I haven’t heard of him either. But his set was amazing. He pulled out Lauryn Hill, MJ and Pac. Pun, Hov and Earth Wind and Fire. Too name a few but the list went on and on. Hit after hit. It literally felt like a Summer in NY. Cook out vibes and remind you were on the heels of Fall. After he got the crowd jumping and ready too go. It was time for Janelle to bring the house down.
My familiarity with her music can literally be summed up into these songs. Tightrope and Cold war. Outside of those songs, Electric Lady and Yoga which I’ve only heard in passing. I also went into this set pretty blind. Outside of the few random videos I saw on YouTube. I had an idea how things would go at least somewhat. I was literally blown away by her stage presence. I felt like I was watching Michael Jackson. I felt like I was watching James Brown. I felt like I was watching Little Richard. All of these icons rolled into one. And yet, it was something totally different. To my surprise, she performed both Cold war and Tightrope. I figured she would roll out a bunch of songs that I didn’t know. But for me, the highlight of her set was when she performed James Brown’s I Feel Good. I love that song. Too hear it a different way was amazing. Her VOCALS WERE ON POINT. A Rank.
I also liked how she used her platform to address oppression. And speak passionately on self love. Highlighting how important it is to embrace those quirks. Regardless what nay sayers say, chase your dreamers endless. You could change the world. Pretty much, all of what we’re about at SDE.
The last thing I really wanted to touch bases on Janelle band. They were too electrifying!! Two back up singers, a keyboardist, bassist and guitarist. Two trumpet players. And percussion section consisted of two players. One with standard trap set and other with hand drums. Bonkers. They could have literally carried the concert without Janelle even being present. Watching them vibing out with each other was so cool. The energy transfer was amazing. I could physically feel the vibrations in my body.
Hands down, Janelle Monae is the best performer I’ve ever seen live. I would highly recommend paying to see her live. You won’t regret it.