ASBO Live: Janelle Monae
When I heard the first two releases of Janelle Monae’s latest release Dirty Computer Make Me Feel and Django Jane I knew that the album was going to be something. Both displayed contrasting sounds from Monáe and the sounds to be expected on the album. Cut to the release the whole body of work was an unexpected surprise. The first sign that this was going to album I will be enjoying for a long time was that each of the songs had a completely vibe and were so different to each other (which for me can be problematic) however in this case they also connected to each other so well and flowed seamlessly as one, with the transitions from song like Screwed to Django Jane it all just work. Then came the Dirty Computer Motion picture which added another visual element of the album tying it together in another way. Then came the announcement of the Dirty Computer tour and I was on it like that. The first show in London which took place at the Roundhouse left me so energized like nobody’s business so it was no surprise that at last nights Wembley show I was going to be there.
Fresh of playing Glastonbury this weekend Janelle came through with the energy, and she wraps up the Dirty Computer tour one would think the shows would start to decline as it’s been a long tour, however not in the case of Janelle who came with maximum energy and gave the audience a show that left me physically exhausted at the end.
Everything from the production to the outfit changes and the setlist was just on a level. Having spent the day prior to attending the show immersing myself in all things Janelle Monáe going back to listen to al, her catalogue I was reminded that Janelle Monáe is an underrated force when it comes to her music.
In terms of her performance you can really see how the influences of her previous collaborator Prince has seeped into her. For one she was on time which is frankly so uncommon and just shows that respect that she has for the fans to deliver a full show on time. Additionally her musicianship in terms of her band and the way that her songs come out live are very much on another level.
From the start of the show to the end Janelle goes in and if fully in the show. Flawless outfit changed that you forget about because they are so clean like that, to engaging with fans and letting them be in part of the show inviting them on stage, with last nights show included a special appearance from Luputia N’yongo. Janelle also makes sure to remind people that her shoes are about love, acceptance and embracing ourselves as Dirty Computer.
The message shouts loud and clear as the crowds sang and embraced the energy that was Janelle Monáe dancing and singing along to her set which included songs from across her catalogue such as “Queen” “Pynk” “ Electric Lady” “Primetime” “Don’t Judge Me” “ Crazy Classic Life” “ I Like It” and more.
The overall consensus is that if you weren’t at the show you missed out. As the Dirty Computer circuit comes to a close we cannot wait to see what Janelle offers us next, and until then we will just hold on to it.
Words: Seneo Mwamba
Images: Isha Shah