Special to DrFunkenberry.com
Written by Eric Greene.
Somebody call Neil deGrasse Tyson, Janelle Monae just set off the second Big Bang! The Electric Lady lit up the stage last week in a breath-taking concert for a few hundred thrilled fans at the I Heart Radio Theatre in Burbank (the former Tonight Show set). Monae opened with a premiere of "What is Love" from the upcoming RIO 2 soundtrack before leading her nine-piece band on a voyage through crowd-pleasers including "Cold War," "Dance Apocalyptic" "Primetime" and "Q.U.E.E.N."
Indeed, with her combination of indefatigable showmanship, musical versatility, playful inventiveness and commitment to craft in musicianship, design, dancing and more, Monae is by far the most exciting performer to break out since Prince himself. Part James Brown, part Stevie Wonder, part Erykah Badu and ALL Janelle Monae, the exhilarating scope of her artistic ambition defies simplistic categorization. How many artists simultaneously invoke seminal Buddhist texts and Dorothy Dandridge; gnostic Science Fiction and Neo-soul; Hip-Hop and Torch Songs? Monae does it all with a combination of skill, hard work, charisma and that all-too-rare quality in our narcissism-gone-wild culture: humility.