Janelle Mon??e brings funk to Skidmore

Posted by Jenna Postler

This year's Fall Big Show on Oct. 1, featuring both Janelle Monáe and Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the True Loves, was more than just a show — it was a performance. The sheer stage presence of both acts was overflowing with excitement.

 Both Janelle Monáe and Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the True Loves thrilled students and community members with their interactive, experimental funk and soul show, which the Student Entertainment Committee brought to Skidmore College.

Openers Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the True Loves exuded cool, soulful energy as they performed for a small crowd. The group performed its single, "Come and Get It." Alex Orthwein '13 was thoroughly impressed by Eli. "Eli brings back such a unique style from the '60s. It's not a cover though. He puts his own spin on it," Orthwein said.

Although Eli is the face of the group, on Friday night he left the stage and let the True Loves showcase their talent. The horn section, guitarist and other musicians played their best and demonstrated that the True Loves can stand on their own.

Both acts performed energetically, which translated well to the crowd. Eli's drummer displayed a heartwarming grin throughout most of the performance, and playfully tossed his drumsticks into the crowd.

After a brief pause between acts, a member of Monáe's entourage stepped onto stage and invited the audience to the performance. Shortly after, Monáe appeared as the ArchAndroid on a video screen broadcast against the back of the stage. When the video ended, Monáe entered the stage wearing a dark cape over her traditional black and white ensemble.

From then on, the show adopted an air of unpredictability. Monáe's show was well choreographed, but still appeared spontaneous. The artist's antics for the night included her traditional dance moves: a fake seizure, a crowd-surfing stunt and an onstage painting to the mellow tunes of "Mushrooms and Roses." The show was far from placid as Monáe's surprises kept the mood upbeat.

Nick Santa-Donato '13 got up-close and personal with the songstress, when she dove into the crowd near him. "I saw the crowd surfing, and I pushed some girls to the ground. I helped to support her, but then she sort of fell into my face," Santa-Donato said.

The artist attempted to give her painting of the female form to a lucky spectator, but a member of Monáe's entourage took the painting back, due to struggles for it in the crowd, which left most of the front row covered in paint.

Monáe's set primarily included songs from her sophomore album, "The ArchAndroid." She also performed music from "Metropolis." Some of the highlights of the show included her performances of, "Cold War," "Faster," "Wondaland" and "Dance or Die."

While some audience members may have been skeptical of the headliner's futuristic funk, the show was very danceable.

Monáe saved her single, "Tightrope," featuring rapper Big Boi, as her closing number, then treated fans to one final encore performance. After the show, the artist remained in the gym, selling and signing albums, T-shirts, and other merchandise.

Eric Moretti '13 thought the show was downright amazing. "After seeing Janelle perform live in the gym, the ‘ArchAndroid' will be the soundtrack of my fall semester," Moretti said.

There's no doubt that Eli "Paperboy" Reed and The True Loves and Monáe brought funk to Skidmore. The Fall 2010 Big Show was a performance that won't easily be outdone.

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