Woodkid – 10/16/13 – The Royale

Epic. That’s the only way you could describe Wednesday night’s performance.

The band appeared dressed in black from head to toe and broke out in an instrumental introduction. White flashes of light were perfectly coordinated with intense drumbeats which resonated in the bones of the audience. After a while, Woodkid came out on stage, taking this beautiful orchestration to a whole new level.

Now usually, the lighting of a set is nothing exceptional. To say Woodkid’s light show was an essential part of the performance would be no exaggeration. Of course, we should have expected it; after all, as a music video producer he’s all about the visual. Columns of white light beamed up from the ground – great towers that transformed the stage into his fortress. And while he could have easily charmed us by projecting his beautiful black and white music videos, instead he played seemingly alien landscapes: mountains and ocean waves, intricate rock carvings and building exteriors. The whole performance felt as if the Blue Man Group collided with an orchestra, and at the head of it all was Woodkid, who after singing his part turned to face his band and wave his hands like an orchestra conductor – but with the swagger of a rapper.

Throughout the concert Woodkid retained his signature aesthetic. Save for the dark blue and green of his shirt and one one grim rumble of red light that matched an especially low note of the horns, the performance was entirely black and white, just like his award-winning music videos.

Though his first time performing in Boston, he was not new to the Royale: “I was here once. Yelle had a panic attack.” As he sang, he moved from one side of the stage to the other, sometimes conducting the audience, urging them to clap louder and to sing with him. At one point he stopped, and said in a hushed tone that made the audience snap to attention: “I have something to tell you… I love you,” cleverly introducing one of his hit songs. Later, when playing Iron, he took out his earplugs, yelling “Wake up Boston!” as the entire crowd jumped up and down, the floor shaking as if it was a huge dance party.

Before the set ended he introduced “his guys” to us. When he got to the steel drum player he joked, “Although it looks like he’s washing dishes, he’s actually playing.” With that, they ended the set with the last track off the record; “I’ll see you on the other side” he sang. But after this hauntingly cinematic journey, it felt like he had already taken us there.

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