Janelle Monáe

Sydney Opera House, Sunday May 27th

I’d had a busy week, had stayed up late Friday and Saturday night watching the Eurovision finals with the girls and driven to Bringelly and back for a family birthday on Sunday. So I was tired and cross and annoyed that I was tired and cross the evening I had tickets to a concert. And then this happened:

Janelle Monáe and the Archandroid Orchestra

It took about three beats for me to forget about anything other than having a good time. This was one of the best shows I’ve ever seen: a perfect balance of theatrics, funk and raw talent. It reminded of the first time I heard JM  – when I watched the video of ‘Tightrope’ on Ethan Hein’s blog post  and thinking, slightly stunned, “it’s this good? Does music still get this good?” (And then thinking it again during the horn breakdown.)

The staging was fun and simple: vivid black and white outfits, cloaked and masked bad guys creeping onstage to be zapped by Janelle’s finger-guns. A band having fun, rather than a stage-show with music.

The show started with a straight run-through of the first four tracks from The ArchAndroid, and then mixed it up. The only song I missed was ‘Many Moons’ but she did a Michael Jackson song and Prince’s ‘Take Me With U’ and painted a picture on stage while she sang ‘Mushrooms & Roses’ and basically had us eating out of her hand.

Appearance of the Museum of Contemporary Art following exposure to the ArchAndroid Orchestra

If you ever get the chance to get tickets to see her, do it. And if you can arrange it, be in kind of a bad mood when the show starts, because the transition is a heck of a rush.

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