The line shot down 11th Street, turned the corner north, and almost hit 12th. It was bitter cold. A real, honest to god February evening and I was instantly regretting my decision to favor a lightweight coat in lieu of battling coat check. Those stuck outside seemed dumbfounded. Never had anyone in line (myself included) waited in such a queue just to get into the ho-hum digs of Webster Hall. On the outside, something was definitely amiss. But what waited on the inside would thaw off the winter sting in no time. Outside of a couple smaller, had-to-know-about gigs, Dev Hynes—aka Blood Orange—was casting his warm, exotic spell of throwback R&B on a hometown audience for the first time since releasing Cupid Deluxe
back in November.
For Dev, we can only imagine the enormity of the moment. It's been a rough year for the supremely stylish, 28-year-old musician. Just after the release of his most recent selection, Hynes lost everything he owned (including his pup, Cupid) to a fire in his Brooklyn apartment. To have his name on the marquee (the words 'SOLD OUT' printed just below) of an iconic New York venue just two months later...my oh my, what a strange collection of highs and lows for the last couple months.
On stage there was zero evidence of strife, as Hynes and his cast of collaborators worked through the exotic fits of R&B, soul, funk, and electro-laced grooves that inhabit Cupid Deluxe
. Chairlift's in-house, indie diva Caroline Polacheck joined the band right off the bat, pairing her seductive breaths and sensual coos to Dev's pleading melodies on "Chamakay". Friends singer (and Dev's girlfriend) Samantha Urbani, a constant on the album, would play the same part at Webster. Their performance of "It Is What It Is" provided a particularly memorable, sing-along moment. When Urbani wasn't lending her voice to the performance, she lounged on the sidelines, perched against a wall like some In Living Color Fly Girl, watching her man on his night...a night I can only imagine he needed after the tough times he's recently been through. For the folks who waited in the cold for 45 minutes outside the venue? Well, the show definitely warmed the body, mind, and soul as well. Everybody wins!