Two floors entirely packed full of people staring at the stage, waiting in anticipation. The crowd collectively held their breath as a crew member fixed the mic. The lights started to gradually dim, portions of the stage started to light up and artificial fog slowly rolled onto the stage. The crowd erupted into screams as a silhouette appeared on stage.
From the floor to ceiling rows of speakers, a familiar chord booms throughout the venue — Steve Lacy enters through the fog.
On Monday, Lacy performed at Roadrunner as a part of his “Give You The World” tour. Fousheé, a singer featured on the song “Sunshine” off of Lacy’s recent album “Gemini Rights,” opened for the show.
Fousheé is an R&B and soul artist but in this performance, she was a bona fide rock star. Unexpectedly, Fousheé performed metal versions of her popular songs “Deep End” and “Paper Plane” as well as a number of unreleased songs. Fousheé’s performance highlighted her incredible versatility as a performer. Her performance was reminiscent of the grunge and rock styles of Evanescence or Halestorm. Fousheé’s set ended with a metal rendition of her song “Candy Grapes.”
After what felt like an eternity between sets, the crowd was energetically anxious to hear Lacy. The first song in the setlist was “Buttons,” a perfect start to Lacy’s extraordinary performance. The song started off with a dramatic intro and was amplified tenfold by the ten subwoofers strategically placed throughout the venue. As the ending of the song crescendoed, there was a quick transition into one of Lacy’s more popular songs “Mercury.”
“Mercury” is the third song off of “Gemini Rights” and was initially released as a single before the album dropped. The song is unique compared to the others performed at the concert because it draws from a number of different genres as inspiration. It starts off with a Bossa Nova rhythm, which is uncommon for a popular artist like Lacy to use in their music. The change was further exemplified by Lacy’s choice to play the song on an acoustic guitar rather than an electric guitar which Bossa Nova is usually accompanied by.
The wide success of a song like “Mercury” highlights Lacy’s genre-bending abilities and his music’s ability to transcend the rules established by genre and style.
Lacy then started playing songs off of his previous album “Apollo XXI.” Fan favorites like “Only If,” “N Side” and “Playground” were performed while the crowd danced and sang along at the top of their lungs.
“Lay Me Down,” however, was the standout performance among the “Apollo XXI” songs by a landslide.
Lacy showed his talent as a guitarist during his performance of “Lay Me Down.” On the album, the song is a groovy, laid back song, but at the concert, Lacy had a guitar solo that lasted minutes as he traveled across the entirety of the stage. He took a very relaxed song and transformed it into a rock version that completely surpassed my expectations.
Lacy’s performance was not just entertaining due to his pure musical talent, but his personality could also be seen between songs as he spoke with the crowd. His humbleness combined with his humor made the overall concert experience feel like an intimate house show.
During the encore, Lacy played two songs that led to his initial discovery by many longtime fans, “C U Girl” and “Dark Red.” The nostalgia and passion Lacy brought to the two last songs coupled with the crowd singing along made the encore the most memorable portion of the night. Lacy’s genius as a completely self-produced artist was evident when the curtains closed and the lights brightened once again.