This is a tale of two performances, one by a contemporary songwriting legend from North Carolina and another by a producer of great renown from Glasgow—an odd pair, performing in an odd order, at an odd venue. Rising above this deluge of oddity, their combined efforts resulted in a satisfying evening of musical entertainment.
I always imagined my first time seeing The-Dream perform would be a decadent affair: The RadioKilla casually seated upon a gold throne being lowered onto the stage as a full band of top R&B players powered through the intro to one of his signature songs. A troupe of backup singers incanting praises to the Love King as an array of voluptuous dancers undulated to the massive 808s and diamond-sharp finger snaps radiating through the arena in sequence with a cavalcade of lasers and lights. And finally him snatching up a diamond encrusted microphone and hitting a perfect, pure note in the upper reaches of the musical spectrum.
The reality of my first The-Dream live show was a much more spartan affair: The Radiokilla striding on stage under deep fog to minimal fanfare but maximal adulation from the small but enthusiastic crowd at Hawthorne Theatre. Accompanied only by an enthusiastic DJ, The-Dream let his vocal capabilities and stage presence keep the crowd enraptured. Although he's gained far greater accolades for his songwriting credits than his own songs, the fans of The-Dream's personal discography are a passionate bunch, and recognizing the special intimacy of this show, they took it upon themselves to sing along word for word with virtually every song Terius Nash offered to them, cherry picking through his vast catalog of gleaming pop RnB.
The performance could have gone on indefinitely and the crowd would not have been sated, so when The-Dream released the crowd from his clutches after 45 minutes, there was a general deflation within the audience, many of whom had come solely to see the Love King.
The persistent fog thickened and the battalion of lights that had sat dormant during The-Dream's performance flickered awake as Hudson Mohawke slid onto stage alongside two band mates. Buried behind a desk, near the the back of the stage, and with no designated lights or microphones to bring him in focus, it was a challenge to form a connection with the featured performer. The audience was left to appreciate the intricacy of the musical performance and it's tight synchronization with the light show. And it did.
Lots more photos after the jump!