Dev Hynes brought his Blood Orange project to the Danforth Music Hall last night for the first of two sold out shows.
Touring behind his recently released excellent fourth album Negro Swan, there were six additional musicians/singers to assist with the night’s presentation.
And truly we weren’t played at. We were presented to. With minimal lighting, Blood Orange let the music do most of the talking, made much easier to convey with the crystal-clear sound. Hynes himself busied himself with guitar and keys when he wasn’t roaming and dancing the length of the stage.
The night started out with “Family” off of Negro Swan and the words definitely set the tone for what was to follow for the next 80 minutes. The very diverse audience was up for a night of dancing and feverish applause. Hynes thanked the crowd but wasn’t super chatty, but again the music coming from the stage more than read as one big appreciative hug.
I wasn’t sure what to expect of a Blood Orange crowd. The music isn’t four on the floor dance stormers, driving rock or any kind of explicit party music, but this crowd came here to party and dance. They just like something to think about while the sake it about. The dancing that occurred throughout the packed floor made me hopeful for music and our youth in the future.
Hynes also gave his backup singers each a chance to shine before he also mesmerized solo for a couple of songs. There really wasn’t a bum note played but highlights included “Orlando”, “Out of Your League”, “Holy Will”, “Charcoal Baby, “Best to You” and “Nappy Wonder.
The set closed out with “EVP” and “Smoke” cementing Hynes’ status as a consummate performer. Comfortably alternating between instruments, possessor of one fine vulnerable and tender voice, and absolute floor worker, Hynes and crew made for a cathartically good start to the work week.
I manage to catch at least half of opener Yves Tumor’s set. Massively distorted bass and beats were a bit shocking to walk into, but along with the next to nothing lighting, the stage presence of Tumor and the songs coming from the stage and had me hooked for further investigation.