The day after Blood Orange’s Lincoln Theatre performance, Dev Hynes posted this on his Instagram story:
“I ain’t do this often but honestly the love I felt last night in DC really hit me to my core. I felt a warmth and safeness I haven’t felt in any setting for a long time, if ever? I really appreciate it.”
Yes, the Lincoln Theatre had a whole lot of love for Hynes. Given his musical and artistic output up to this point, would you expect anything different? With his latest album Negro Swan, Hynes has further solidified himself into the musical zeitgeist of the 2010s with stories of love, vulnerability, and social injustice.
This wasn’t just The Dev Hynes Show, though - the entire group had ample opportunity to shine. There were captivating sax and flute solos and songs where backup vocalists Ian Isiah (also known as Big Shugga) and Eva Tolkin took center stage (like on “Best To You,” with Hynes on grand piano). As for Hynes, he delivered explosive, Prince-like guitar solos on “Nappy Wonder” and showed off his interpretive dance side on “It Is What It Is.” And as red and blue lights flashed, Hynes performed a haunting solo version of Negro Swan cut “Dagenham Dream,” further exacerbating his anguish as he recounted a childhood memory of a beating he endured on the street. Hynes and company bared all sides of themselves during their performance and created something magical in the process. The look of gratitude on Hynes’s face said it all - this was an unforgettable show for everyone, even for Hynes himself.
Negro Swan is available now through Domino Records.
Opening for Blood Orange was Yves Tumor, who performed solo on stage (and in the audience) over futuristic chillwave- and vaporwave-inspired beats with the reverb turned to 11 to create an ethereal sound in the venue. His latest album Safe in the Hands of Love is out now through Warp Records.