Janelle Monae - The Institute, Birmingham
The Fix don’t always get it right when proclaiming an act has big things in front of them (sorry Tiffany Page, Chew Lips) but we were on the money with soul sensation Janelle Monae way back in 2009, when we declared the singer’s Saturday afternoon SXSW set as the best thing we encountered that week. It’s been a delight watching her career progress in the years since and it’s safe to say the “ArchAndroid”’s success shows no sign of waning, after witnessing this triumphant Birmingham performance.
Miss Monae is a very theatrical performer so it was no surprise to see her strapped up and wheeled onto the stage at the beginning of her set during the ‘Suite IV : Electric Overture’ from current album The Electric Lady, with a band member cutting her loose for ‘Giving Em What They Love’.
The singer delivered exquisite vocals and myriad dance moves throughout a set predominantly pulled from her current collection and The ArchAndroid, with standouts including 'Dance Apocalyptic', a phenomenal 'Tightrope' and 'Cold War' (dedicated to Nigeria's missing children).
It was a brilliant set throughout but I did have a minor niggle or two. I've said it before but I still find it slightly disappointing that Janelle's live show doesn't pull many tracks from her debut EP Metropolis: Suite I (The Chase). We did get to hear 'Sincerely, Jane' but I'd rather we'd been treated to performances of 'Violet Stars Happy Hunting!' and 'Many Moons', rather than the couple of covers that were offered up, especially the latter, as it's the track that brought the singer a lot of fans when she was starting out. That being said, her Jackson Five tribute wasn't too shabby!!
Although it took an eternity to start, 'PrimeTime' was another highlight as the performance drew to a close, with an energetic 'Come Alive' and 'What An Experience' just the icing on a splendid cake indeed!