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Aloe Blacc live review Leeds Academy

by Cat Marr. Published Wed 07 Dec 2011 23:22, last updated: 09/12/11
Aloe Blacc © Danny Payne
Aloe Blacc © Danny Payne

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Despite his I Need a Dollar mantra Aloe Blacc will no doubt come to be known as a glass full to the brim and spilling over the edge kind of guy.

Leeds O2 Academy was playing host to a varied crowd, couples were winning the majority, followed by parents and kids and finally groups of friends.

Dressed in a grey blazer and matching hat and looking like a modern Gene Kelly, he drifted onto stage to the bed track of I Need A Dollar coolly kicking his feet and moving his head to the beat. 



Aloe put on a very social performance and throughout the set he asked for the audience to sing along, dance and make new friends.

During a song called You Make me Smile, he asked the crowd to take a second to hug people next to them, and dance with the people special to them.

After encouraging people to embrace their friends, family and loved ones he then wanted to make it even more interactive by requesting people to say "hello nice to meet you? What's your name", to people they didn't know around them, he then reinforced this by singing it.

Not content with people forging new relationships he then wanted to get them moving; he parted the crowd and asked them to dance down the middle with one another as a homage to the television show Soul Train, groups of fans danced down the aisle much to Aloe's delight.

His vocals were soft and dreamy caramel, he switched to falsetto effortlessly and his permanently fixed smile was infectious.

This man enjoyed perform enjoyed soul and loved the support from fans, and keeping with his message of harmony he kept preaching his message of peace and love but was keen not to include religion or creed. His positivity was not only refreshing but felt genuine.

Highlights of the performance included his own tribute to hip hop, he went through a small sequence of how to create a Hip Hop song sort of like "Aloe Blacc's Hip Hop 101", he created a buzz of excitement in the crowd as he began to beat box down the mic before slipping into another funk filled song.

He saved I need a Dollar till almost last, it was what everyone had been waiting for but not the only reason for buying their ticket. He changed the arrangement of the track breaking it down and keeping it soul filled and jazz edged. The band kept the tune going as he left the stage and one by one they left in preparation for the encore.

Aloe Blacc's downfall was probably his encore, leaving teasing in I Need a Dollar throughout the set indicated he knew that it would promote the biggest reaction and he final three songs after his big hit almost fell flat, as they didn't promote audience participation and weren't particularly memorable.

He gave an extremely uplifting performance kicking out his legs 'New York' style constantly just showed how much of a good time he was having and the smiles on his very talented band mirrored the sentiment.

Pictures by Danny Payne



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