Lincoln Hall – Chicago, IL
April 1, 2010
Come back V.V. Brown, please come back to Chicago! Seriously, though. That was the thought running through my mind as my new favorite artist of 2010 left the stage at Lincoln Hall last week. Unfortunately for me, V.V. Brown was the opening act and not the headliner at the sold out Little Dragon show in Chicago. I would have preferred for Brown to have headlined the concert, if only so that the amazingly talented English singer/songwriter could have performed every song on her new record Travelling Like The Light. Brown’s supporting set encompassed eight of the twelve tracks that make up her debut album, plus one Drake cover and a tribute to African music. Before I knew it, the show was over and I was left wanting more; a good thing for any artist I suppose. Now I just have to wait it out until V.V. Brown returns to Chicago so I can rock out with her once more.
More photos of V.V. Brown and the set list from her first Chicago concert after the jump…
Set List / Chicago
Back In Time
I Love You
Best I Ever Had (Drake cover)
We Love African Music (vamp)
Shark In The Water
Shifting gears from happy-go-lucky “L.O.V.E” to the more melancholy “Back In Time,” Brown announced that, “This next song is about a guy who I fell in love with who studied Physics. They’re nerds, but they’re hot.” Indeed, super smart dudes can be quite a catch. “Do you guys like love songs? Do you mind if I sing you a love song? I wrote this song on the beach,” said Brown to introduce the jazzy ballad and most downtempo song of the singer’s set “I Love You.”
“Do you guys like hip hop music? I’m a big fan of hip hop music,” exclaimed Brown before announcing that she would be performing a song that I cannot stand. “Tonight I’m going to do a cover of ‘Best I Ever Had’ by Drake. Do you guys know that song?” Yes, I know that song. I know it a little too well, actually. Honestly, that song is overplayed and has been exhausted on the airwaves to the point where I scream in frustration when it comes on the radio!
I adore everything about V.V. Brown, but I would have enjoyed her sold out concert even more if “Best I Ever Had” was not included in the songwriter’s set. Brown’s opening slot was too short in my opinion. Therefore, I wanted to V.V. to squeeze in as many of her own tunes as possible. Instead of the Drake cover, I wish Brown had sang “Quick Fix,” which is one of my favorite tracks off her debut album Travelling Like The Light.
For the first six songs of Brown’s performance, the English singer/songwriter kept her microphone in its stand while her arms helped to accentuate the passion in each tune. The cover of “Best I Ever Had” marked the removal of the mic from its stationary position and into the hand of its master. Barefoot and wearing a peculiar red headdress adorned with sparkles and feathers reminiscent of Mardi Gras, Brown held on tightly to her drumstick and proceeded to intermittently hit the single tom drum placed to her left throughout the night.
“Do you guys like reggae music? You see, my dad’s from Puerto Rico and my mum’s from Jamaica,” explained Brown before launching into “Crying Blood.” Apparently, Brown likes to ask the audience if they like a certain genre of music before singing each of her songs. Maybe that’s because each tune Brown writes and sings serves to transport the listener to a specific era from the past and present. It was obvious that the crowd at Lincoln Hall last Thursday night had no problem with the time machine contraption that is V.V. Brown and her music.
Keeping with her now standard preliminary questions, Brown asked eager fans standing before her, “Do you guys like African music?” What came next was a surprise to me, and I’m sure to everyone at the show seeing Brown perform live for the first time. “We Love African Music” is the title I bestowed upon the brief impromptu jingle that Brown and her three-piece band performed after our taste of Caribbean flavored “Crying Blood.” What else would you call a fragment of music that repeated the phrase “We love African music” over and over again for a few minutes?
Before delivering hit single “Shark In The Water,” Brown admitted that “This is our last song tonight.” This, of course, was followed by moans of disappointment and dissatisfaction from the audience as everyone lamented their unfulfilled need to hear more from V.V. Brown. “We’ve had a bit of a rough day today,” Brown reluctantly acknowledged with just the slightest hint of fatigue and defeat. This, of course, was received with vague expressions of sympathy and compassion from fans proving their love and support of Brown by simply being present at her first appearance in Chicago.
With my camera and crackberry safely tucked away in my bag, I sang my heart out along with V.V. as she performed my latest obsession that has been dominating my Heartbeats by Lady Gaga in-ear headphones for the past month. “Shark In The Water” is by far my favorite song of the year so far and I highly doubt another will be released by 2011 that will knock it out of the park.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge photos: