Despite the gentle breeze and azure skies, Solange Knowles’ Saturday show at the Danforth Music hall arrived on a day more cheerless and grey than the February evening on which she visited Toronto five months ago.
The concert opened with Kelela, a D.C. native whose hypnotic electronic beats and velvety R&B vocals easily make her musical kin to The Weeknd. Solange’s stage presence was immediately felt as she strutted into view, even as she initially stood quietly and meditatively in front of her mic, waiting for her band. Then, abruptly, she plunged into a rendition of Mos Def’s honest and inspiring black strife anthem, “Umi Says”, finishing with a stern “That was for justice.”
After giving the audience her verdict on the hours-fresh decision of the Trayvon Martin case, a decision that is still hard for many to digest, she lightheartedly delivered the rest of her set. When she sang her hit “Losing You,” she had concertgoers singing along verbatim — many loudly professing that the song was “their shit.” Solange, true to her eclecticism, mixed her cover of the Dirty Projectors’ rock ballad “Stillness is the Move” with the smooth and classic melody “Bumpy’s Lament” effortlessly, hitting the song’s higher notes.
The show finished with a short, one-song encore. Solange seemed to rush out of the venue as quickly as the audience emptied out onto the cool Danforth Avenue. She took to Twitter two hours later to invite followers to join her with their hoodies, signs, and voices for a peaceful protest at Brooklyn Borough Hall. A day later, that tweet was followed by this one: “Toronto…thank you for letting me show you all of me in that moment. Ill [sic] never forget you.”