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Friday, October 22, 2010

Show Review + Setlist: Janelle Monáe Makes a Splash Opening for Of Montreal at the Pageant, Thursday, October 21

Posted By on Fri, Oct 22, 2010 at 2:12 AM

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Janelle  Monáe at the Pageant - TODD OWYOUNG
  • Todd Owyoung
  • Janelle Monáe at the Pageant

Monáe's debut full-length, The ArchAndroid is a dense, Kaleidoscopic album whose execution often lags behind its ambition. That occasionally hampered her live set as well. The sequencing of the songs felt off, which drained energy and momentum. Stretches of meandering psychedelic guitar and a long interlude where she painted an outline of a human derriere with the word "Love" especially dragged.

However, the show picked up near the end, with the indomitable triptych of "Oh, Maker," "Cold War" and "Tightrope." The first song is one of Monáe's more traditional compositions, a modern R&B showcase; live, ot felt more reminiscent of Lily Allen's reggae confections. The final two songs perked up the pace even more, with a frenzy of soul breakdowns, high-stepping footwork and double-time drill beats. Monáe ended "Tightrope" by singing a line or two a cappella, and leading her band through some pointed sonic punctuation marks. The clarity and strength she summoned ended her set in an appropriately theatrical way - and just made the audience adore her more.

Critic's Notebook: A friend described Monáe like this: "Nona Hendryx meets Teena Marie."

Setlist: (think I have everything -- if I missed something, give a shout!) "Suite II Overture" "Dance or Die" "Faster" "Locked Inside" "Smile" "Sincerely, Jane" "Make the Bus" (w/Kevin Barnes) "Wondaland" "Mushrooms & Roses" (? Is that right?) "Oh, Maker" "Cold War" "Tightrope"

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