On Tuesday, I was able to go see the amazing Dev Hynes of Blood Orange at Lincoln Theatre. This felt like more than a simple concert; this was a performance. Hynes showed off his dancing, singing, piano, guitar, and cello skills throughout the show, while also really highlighting the other musicians in his group. Through every song, you were able to feel the energy all around the theater.
This was a time for the audience to recognize and address the current problems of black identity and brutality, which are featured in Hynes’s lyrics. It was also a time for recognizing that this performance can be viewed as a safe space meant for expression.
When Hynes wasn’t singing, he was showing off his Prince and Michael Jackson-like dance moves. These were then juxtaposed with three background dancers whose moves were much more fluid and modern. Together, they represented the overall smooth yet very poignant style of music that Blood Orange produces. A style that isn’t quite jazz, pop, indie, alternative, or r&b, but rather a combination.
Hynes also extended songs such as “Best to You” to really give the audience a time to dance. These were then met with extensive electric guitar, saxophone, and drum solos as Hynes and the audience would dance together.
The performance was backed by stills of the New York City skyline and by video clips of multiple boroughs, really showcasing Hynes’ location for the creation process of this album. Although he grew up in London, he currently resides in New York which inspired parts of Freetown Sound. As an audience, we were able to see how essential location is in songwriting and the creative process. Along with the pictures and stills, Hynes’s lighting involved the use of shadows and silhouettes.
Overall, the performance was amazing and really showcased the spirit of who Blood Orange really is. If you enjoy new wave, almost unclassifiable music, I highly recommend listening to their latest album Freetown Sound which was released on June 28, 2016.
— Claire Kostohryz