Janelle Monae - The Roundhouse, London - patrickgunning.com-34

Janelle Monae is an absolute genius of the music industry. She deserves, in my opinion, way more fans than she has, and more fans that are as enthusiastic about her music as the small portion pressed against the barrier. Her talent is unparalleled- she performed with a spectacular range, with strength, power and valour. Yet somehow most of the arena weren’t as excited as they should have been. Watching Janelle’s costume changes and listening to her powerful voice was enough to turn me from a regular fan to a completely devoted super-fan. Seeing her live truly is an experience and not one you want to miss.

Janelle Monae is more than a singer, shes an activist. She is the kind of artist that we need to be on our radios as she sings about really important topics and preaches golden nuggets of them at her concerts, even though I would happily listen for hours. She pauses the concert to talk about the importance of supporting black lives, disabled people, women’s reproductive rights, and LGBTQIA+ people (using the fully acronym and putting the + at the end!!) Even through her songs and videos she still preaches the same in a tasteful way, from trans representation in ‘Pynk’ to the strong BLM statement in ‘Django Jane’. She’s not the artist we deserve, but the artist we really need.

Another really important aspect of the gig was Janelle Monae’s backing band. Seeing them have so much fun really made the difference to the concert. It felt less like a manufactured pop solo artist and more like a group having a really great time. Especially watching a female rhythm section was really empowering as a young female musician myself. The bass was loud and, as I have written in my notes, absolutely filthy. We even got gifted a guitar solo in the form of a Prince tribute. Even after playing most of her new album and standout hits from her previous albums she managed to fit in a tribute to prince which was truly magical. Even those that did not understand her nod to Purple Rain saw the thousands of lights in the crowd and must have felt the true power and emotion behind the tribute.

If you haven’t seen Dirty Computer do yourself a favor and watch the full video on her youtube as it is complete art. Janelle Monae deserves more, and I will keep preaching until she gets it.

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