Last Saturday, November 23rd, Distraction was privileged to attend the Janalle Monae concert at the Fillmore Miami Beach. We say privileged because that’s exactly how we felt seeing such a talented performer live. While Monae is most famous for her signature black and white style, her songs are bright and soulful. Listen to her hit single Tightrope, her recent single Q.U.E.E.N. or her uncanny rendition of Jackson 5’s ABC and you find yourself just grooving to her sound.
The show began even before Monae sang her first note. She was wheeled out on stage wrapped in white cloth, reminiscent of the Bride of Frankenstein. Once she opened her eyes and effortlessly belted out her first song, the crowd was hooked. Monae is a very theatrical performer, constantly widening her eyes and shaking her hands. While her voice is clearly her most impressive feature, she is a very talented dancer as well, twerking one second then impersonating James Brown the next. Her style is very versatile, making the show feel like an underground speakeasy performance at one moment, then quickly turning into a sockhop then ending in a hip-hop style.
Though Monae is a solo artist, her band was just as spectacular. Each member was dressed in black and white, adding to the illusion. Her background singers were just as theatrical.
The Fillmore is a small enough venue to keep the show intimate. The crystal chandeliers on the ceiling and tiered General Admission area allude to the Jackie Gleason Theater it once was. Every spot in the theater has a great view of the stage. The audience danced along to the performance, mimicking her dance moves and her fashion sense.
Her more fashion-minded fans were undoubtedly impressed by her concert style. She began the show in white riding pants, a white, short-sleeved blouse and black riding boots. She later changed into black pants with black and white loafers. Most covetable, however, had to be her black and white horizontally striped bomber – which we quickly added to our holiday wishlists.
The best part of the show had to be during her final song, when she invited onto the stage her fans who dressed like her. She hugged and danced with them as she sang; it was a great moment that showed just how grateful she is to her fans. Ms. Monae, you just got some new loyal fans.
words and photos_nicole vila