Friday night fans who made the social media cut gathered at Prophet Bar for Red Bull Sound Select's first Dallas show. The company has paired emerging artists with headliners to present free shows for those who share their desire to attend on varying social media platforms. Expect more like this in the future, with changing Dallas personalities and venues at the curatorial wheel for future Sound Select offerings.
I checked the #soundselect hastag throughout the night to see if these socially savvy fans were continuing the "sharing," of this experience. @SamaanAshrawi tweeted, "Allow me one grainy concert photo of Erykah Badu. Also this woman next to me is screaming and crying. #SoundSelect pic.twitter.com/P2NdpfTtdi," which feels pretty accurate for the evening. And, for that matter, many evenings at the pulpit of this Dallas queen.
Friday's "emerging" artists opening for Erykah Badu included Larry g(EE) and Dustin Cavazos. Both are Dallas musicians who have had significant Dallas crowds on their own, but on Friday theirs were certainly bolstered with extra shine from Badu. g(EE)'s live band was taking a notable turn on a Ginuwine cover as I walked through the building to take in the scene. Like any good version of "Pony," it sent the audience grinding. That bass line really is something.
Before Badu's official set, The Cannabinoids took on an opening hour with what seemed like a refreshed sound. Props to the sound engineers at the Prophet Bar - the band's beat-heavy sets moved the crowd easily, but new colors seemed to ring clearer then I have heard before.
The Cannabanoids produce a compelling hour on their own but it's clear that they really are providing an inimitable palette for a lead vocalist or MC to perform. This was evident when Dallas rapper -topic took the stage, joined by a few members of the Team From Nowhere collective. It was an excellent, if brief, collaboration. -topic was as energetic as ever and the Team From Nowhere were dancing like they were at a house party. The night takes on a decidedly more intimate tone from there.
When Badu made her way to the stage, she was as commanding as usual. But her wide grin promised something playful for the evening. It seems strange to comment on an artist's mood, but it was just so evident Badu was in a good one. Though Badu's Dallas sets rely heavily on early material, they are always given new life through fantastic arrangements. Friday's definitely swung up-tempo and pulled her sound into a more hip-hop neighborhood then the last few more traditional soul-focused sets I have seen.
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Badu, as always, pulled us in with that voice, the Theremin, her master-class flirting, her beautiful long braids -- which from profile view threatened to steal the show. But for those of you attending, I hope you stayed till the end because the encore was where it was really at.
A quick take on 2 Chainz "Fucking Problems," sent the audience atwitter and a version of "Other Side of the Game," which defied description sent the concert well past 2 a.m. and made jaws drop. Well aware of her seductive powers, Badu jumped into the hands of the crowd and was passed lovingly among the front section. She climbed back on stage, giggling and blowing kisses.
And all of Dallas, it seemed, caught one.