Gallant combines the explosiveness of Chance the Rapper’s dancing with the impressiveness of Sam Smith’s falsetto range, resulting in a winning live performance.
A single gold, spray painted sad face shone on the LED backdrop, under text that read “Gallant,” John Legend’s opener for the night at Blue Hills Bank Pavilion.
Nearby, Bostonians craned their necks to see the towering sailboats that had docked for the Tall Ships Regatta. But within a few songs, it would be the concertgoers who would be the ones looking up to the skies as Gallant’s impressive vocal range reached astonishing heights; the entirety of “Episode” was somehow sang an octave higher than the original version. With “Jupiter” Gallant brought us a crescendoing series of “I’m sorry that I waited too long.” As the line was repeated it got louder, and Gallant’s voice got higher and higher, climbing as the accompanying grinding of the guitar and the pounding of drums gave a sense of urgency to his words.
As he sang and danced, the mic cord flailed wildly, jumping like an angry cobra.
Gallant paced the stage with the energetic swagger of artists like Saba or Chance the Rapper. With one hand, he waved a black towel; it was hot, and an impending rainstorm meant the humid air was so thick it sometimes seemed to slow Gallant’s movements. On the softer, jazzy number “Skipping Stones,” Gallant looked as if he was swimming through Jell-O, his slow motions heightened by the delicate twinkle of the keyboard. The recorded version, which he sings with Jhené Akino, ends with her fading, sighing voice. Live, he grabbed the mic with two hands, his voice soaring beyond Sam Smith falsetto heights as he screamed to the crowd: “Say it to me!”
It’s of note here that the comparisons to the likes of Sam Smith and Chance the Rapper are not to say Gallant isn’t original, rather, that Gallant has managed to capture characteristics that contribute to the impressiveness of a live performance by these two better-known artists. Smith’s vocals alone are enough to leave an arena of fans buzzing, and Chance’s explosive dancing does wonders in amping up a crowd. Gallant combines jaw-dropping falsettos with dancing and leaping: darting across the entire stage like a rubber bouncy ball set loose, hurtling through the air. All the while, we, the audience, are left wondering about the limits of his vocals and where his voice had disappeared to.
“Sing this with me if you know it” Gallant said as the fuzzy analog sounds and slow drumbeat kick off hit song “Weight In Gold.”
As if, Gallant.