Solange VIVID Live: A Seat At The Table
WORDS BY ALANA CALLUS
Forget the formalities you’d typically expect from an Opera House performance - Solange was here to throw a party with a personally branded form of musical activism that still gets you on the dance floor.
As a part of this year’s VIVID Live series, Solange illuminated the packed-out Concert Hall with her angelic nature and a beaming halo-esque orb floating above the stage.
Solange hasn’t been to Sydney since Falls Festival five years ago, and she graced the stage with a maturity that shines through each track on A Seat At The Table. Written in light of the #BlackLivesMatter movement traversing the US, the messages of pride and solidarity rang true with our own localised battle for recognition of our array of cultures and identities.
A Seat At The Table was such a moment for women of colour and taking pride in diversity. Exploring black womanhood, empowerment, independence and grief through the political undercurrents, it all felt like the right amount of commentary even today. Heavy topics and motifs were expressed through her symphonic range and stripped back performance.
Often placing herself off-centre or intermingled among a geometric formation of her band, Solange was an understated star.
Her sound is soul with a certain twist that’s one part jazzy, one part electronic and altogether undoubtedly cool. The synchronicity of the brass section and keyboardist rocking four keyboards at once were just another meticulously executed, yet still playful element of the production.
But Solange isn’t out to just perform. The entire show was a dialogue. Inclusivity and representation are major thematic overtones with a multicoloured accompaniment of dancers and musicians taking the stage. Solange herself even made a foray into the crowd to connect arm in arm with her African-Australian fans during “F.U.B.U” and performed an entire song to the back seats of the choir stalls.
If you’ve ever seen one of her immaculately curated music videos (if not, stop reading right now and go watch this and this, you’ll know every detail down to the Pantone colour palette is all about an aesthetic vision. A bare-footed band dressed in white and bathed in hues of dusty red and neon blues kept your focus on music and the messages within it.
When I first heard Cranes In The Sky, it skyrocketed to the number one spot on my Spotify “Most Played” list. It was understated but so. damn. powerful. With some of the most beautiful vocals on the album, it also projects resounding activism and a pursuit of peace with authenticity and startling relatability. Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one crooning along when Solange performed the song amongst luminous pyramids and every twirly, overzealous dance move you’ve ever performed in the comfort of your own home.
Solange’s unapologetically daggy-Dad-dancing actually just highlights the beauty of human movement, and how something as simple as a gradual synchronized lean can mesmerize an entire audience.
Her familial background is irrelevant, Solange is an artist in her own right.