On Wednesday, May 4th, as previously posted, I attended the opening night of the “Hooligans in Wondaland” tour at Roseland Ballroom in NYC. The headliners were Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae, with support act Plan B. Being a fan of the headliners, I was uber-excited to see them going on the road together, especially after their performance together at this year’s Grammy awards ceremony. Upon arrival after 6 PM, I had to get on the back of the line which stretched around two city blocks. Things moved quickly, and met up with friends inside in no time (shouts to Indira for holding down a spot right in front of the stage). Here’s some footage and my take on the show, act by act.
I became familiar with Plan B specifically through his involvement on the tour. He is from the UK and is originally a hip hop artist, but experiments in various genres. The material performed was from his 2010 album “The Defamation of Strickland Banks”, which has a 1960s r&b vibe to it. I can see that he was a natural choice as an opener for the tour, as his musical stylings seem to be a good fit with Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae. He performed with a full band and two backup singers. Key tracks were his singles “Stay Too Long” and “She Says” along with dubstep mashups of “Stand by Me” and “Kiss From a Rose”.
I have been following the career of Janelle Monae since around 2005 when she was featured on the song “Lettin Go” on the Purple Ribbon All-Stars album “Got Purp? Vol 2”. Her style always intrigued me because she was, and continues to be, an original in the cookie-cutter world we know as the music industry. My first time seeing her was at CMJ 2009, at a show at the Bowery Ballroom which featured Chester French as a co-headliner. This was my second time seeing her live, and as expected, she did not disappoint. She performed the majority of material from her current album, “The ArchAndroid”, and a few tracks from her debut “Metropolis: Suite 1 (The Chase)”. She delivered the first four tracks of her current album seamlessly, as it was recorded, with great energy, and kept it going for her entire show. I would say she had about twenty-five people on stage which included the band, orchestra, dancers, back-up singers, and other characters that added to the vignettes of her live show.
When it comes to Bruno Mars, I was not ahead of the wave. I heard him for the first time featured on “Nothin’ on You” by B.O.B. Upon first listen, I thought he had a nice tone to his voice, but overall “too poppy” for my liking. I didn’t really seek out his music, as it was on all the pop radio stations and MTV, but still enjoyed his voice. The turning point for me was when he performed on this year’s Grammy’s, and I thought, “Wow, he’s really talented”. It led me to purchase the tickets for the show, and can now proudly say that I am a fan. His live show was very well-thought out, with the support of great musicians and tech. The stand out track for me was “Our First Time” as it was a sensual love song with a reggae undertone. I can also say that it made all the girls go CRAZY! Teen idol status, ha!
This was a great show to kick off my concert season. Great musicians, good friends and an overall good time. I’ve uploaded seven videos in total to my YouTube channel “The Concert Life of Andrea”. I will be uploading all my concert footage to this channel, so please check it out, comment, and stay tuned!