Blood Orange – Webster Hall – 2/6/14


Better Than: Anything but sex.

Just before Blood Orange’s sold-out show at Webster Hall, Devonté Hynes’ girlfriend and collaborator Samantha Urbani tweeted “It’s so sick that my boyfriend is literally the coolest person in the world.” Technically that distinction still belongs to Prince, but last night Hynes was certainly the coolest dude in the East Village.

See also: Celebrating the Release of Blood Orange’s “Cupid Deluxe”

Last December, Hynes, 28, made headlines (and entered into a public feud with The Guardian) when he lost everything he owned, including his dog, in a house fire. Yesterday’s show was a much-needed counterpoint to that narrative: a celebration of the music that made Hynes a public figure in the first place. It was the kind of sold out show where everyone who bought a ticket showed up–the crowd stretched far past the bars at the back of the venue.

Hynes performed in the model of high-waisted, high-fashion pants he sported in a January New Yorker profile, topped with a black leather jacket. Actually, he donned several jackets over the course of the evening, including one of the Technicolor Dreamcoat variety. Hynes has an uncommon sex appeal: you don’t wan’t to sleep with him in the way you would with Shakira or Justin Timberlake; you want to sleep with the idea of him and everything his arty androgyny brings into beguiling focus.

See all the photos from last night: Blood Orange at Webster Hall.

Early Blood Orange shows had Hynes performing with just a guitar and a laptop, but last night a full band, complete with a saxophonist and guest rappers, bolstered the sound to a size befitting the crowd. Most of the material performed was from last year’s Cupid Deluxe, opening with Hynes and Urbani duet-ing the album’s second single “You’re Not Good Enough.” Urbani remained onstage for most of the show, as her vocals are featured on a bevy of Deluxe’s songs including “No Right Thing,” “It Is What It Is,” “Always Let U Down.” She and Hynes weren’t cutesy onstage. They sang simple and and strong, none of that Drake on SNL “look at this love song” pandering to the crowd.

Cupid Deluxe is Hynes’ breakout record–a recent Tumblr post by the artist shows him posing under a Sunset Blvd. billboard of himself with the caption: nigga we made it. (The DJ who warmed up the crowd played the Drake/Souja Boy freestyle of similar title.) After a 2012 which saw Hynes mostly behind the boards–writing Sky Ferreira and Solange Knowles’ best songs–it’s nice to see him occupying a significant place in the public consciousness.

Hynes certainly doesn’t have any problem existing at the forefront. As a singer he’s powerful in a casual way and last night he also played several guitar solos (all of which drew cheers) and broke into extempore dances that elicited the requisite panty dropping. The tropical percussion of “Chamakay” brought forth a few well-placed pelvic thrusts.

Hynes closed out with his hit “Time Will Tell,” repeating: come into my bedroom, come into my bedroom, come into my bedroom. Last night, many of us would have taken him up on the offer.

See all the photos from last night: Blood Orange at Webster Hall.

The Crowd: Beautiful people of every variety.

Random Notebook Dump: Hynes is also a comic book artist, drawing a punk-themed strip for an anthology whose proceeds went to help teenagers with cancer.

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