Live Review: Gallant with Eryn Allen Kane at Crocodile 10/25/16

Live Reviews
Gerrit Feenstra
all photos by Brittany Feenstra

It’s a fact proven time and time again by the emerging stars of our time - if you pay close enough attention to the masters, eventually, their greatness will rub off on you. Tonight at the Crocodile, the two stars of the evening had, at the very least, one master in common: Prince. Tributes to the recently departed icon echoed throughout tonight’s entertainment. But alongside each nod to heroes, both Gallant and Eryn Allen Kane gave us a double serving of their own flavor and voice. Voice is obviously the key here - you’ll be hard pressed to find more impressive specimens than these two individuals here with us tonight. But both Gallant and Kane brought so much more, giving the Crocodile a welcome exhibition of an evening, shimmering with charisma production value. Between Gallant's "Weight In Gold" and Kane's "Have Mercy", the crowd had two hits to beg for, but the two graciously exceeded any and all expectations. Ripe with call and response, sing-a-longs, and even on stage dancing, Gallant made Tuesday night feel like heaven.As the story goes, Prince found Eryn Allen Kane out after hearing 2013 a cappella track “Hollow”. Less than two years later, she popped up on his 2015 track “Baltimore” and was offered the chance to perform it with him at a peace protest in the city of the song’s namesake. It is no dumb luck that led Kane to such an opportunity - far from it. The vocal powerhouse went to the same Detroit high school as Aaliyah, and has since found a branch of her own to perch on and sing to the heavens. Her two part album Aviary shows off impressive vocal range and instrumental arrangement, and whatever’s next for Kane is sure to be magic. Here tonight, Kane put on a spectacle, unintimidated by any unfamiliarity in the audience, ready to make new converts in record time. Kane's live performance is heavily interactive, but not only in its call and response elements. Rather, her electric stage persona invites you to participate in every moment of it, and practically join the band in terms of excitement and investment. Halfway through her set, she carved her setup down to just vocal and piano for a heart-wrenching cover of Prince's "How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore?", followed by a raucous snippet of "I Wanna Be Your Lover". This is how Eryn Allen Kane operates, in the poles, far from center whether quiet or loud. I don't think Gallant could have found a better pairing for this tour.

Eryn Allen Kane:

With so many bands puzzled by how to make it under the new model of the music industry, Chris Gallant could write the how-to. The R&B singer has floated up through the ranks in the last few years by bringing something unexpected to a crowd in desperate need of a shake-up. While Gallant's 2014 EP Zebra was almost entirely produced by Felix Snow (Leona Lewis, SZA, etc.), this year's Ology and last year's EP behind "Weight in Gold" were heavily driven by LA electronic producer STiNT. Some of Gallant's biggest breaks in the same time-span have been feature spots on EDM tracks by the likes of ZHU. Gallant even opened up for ZHU earlier this year, where the reaction from a crowd expecting not much more than a light show and heavy bass was exactly what it should be: complete and utter amazement. The way that Gallant has engineered his sound as a perfect saddle to R&B and electronic music is brilliant, and the spread of his fandom is showing for it. After making his Coachella debut earlier this year and touring in support of a few acts through the summer, Gallant is now halfway through a headlining tour of his own and seeing nothing but sold-out signs outside every venue.

Seeing him here tonight at the Crocodile, it's evident that Chris deserves every bit of the admiration. His pitch-perfect falsetto translates to the live setting like nothing you've ever heard. I'm pretty sure the knees of the entire front row buckled simultaneously when it was time for "Skipping Stones". Honestly, Chris could just stand there and sing and the people would leave caught up in the rapture of his love. But the fact that he moves around the stage in a frenzy of personality, connecting with the super-fans in the front row and checking his hair in the stage mirror, makes him a freaking legend. If the entirety of Ology wasn't enough, Gallant also broke out his beautiful cover of Foo Fighter's classic "Learn To Fly", which translates the rock ballad into an expansive, Maxwell-worthy anthem. Gallant is alive with fire and desire on stage, earnestly thankful to the audience and showing it with every high note. Even playing 70 minute sets every night on his first big headliner tour, Chris shows no fatigue. He knows this is his moment and he's owning it like every fan could hope for. Gallant is going to the moon soon, but for now, we're all just excited to see him rock the Crocodile like a sold-out stadium. We'll get plenty of chances to see that later.


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