Last night at BB King’s in NYC, Elle Varner performed the second stop on her intimate December tour, backed by Adrian Marcel.
Adrian Marcel opened and impressed us once again and he continues to develop which each performance. Commanding the stage like a veteran well beyond his years, you can see the presence that his mentor Raphael Saadiq has passed down to him. That’s where the comparisons end however, as Adrian’s music is very edgy r&b, and that is on full display in his live show. Flanked by his DJ, he came across as the new generation of r&b’s new bad boy as he crooned through songs on his “Weak After Next” mixtape. The bay area is always with him though and he always makes sure to pay homage to his hometown on stage. Even on his more radio friendly songs like “2 AM” and “Spending the Night Alone”, he still manages to appeal to the hip hop audience. The real highlight of the night for him was his cover of R. Kelly’s “Bump N Grind” which had the crowd in a frenzy! Another great step forward for one of the new generation of r&b’s shining stars.
As Elle took the stage next, she described the amazing feeling that came over her being able to perform in her hometown and having her name on the BB King’s marquee in Times Square; she’s really doing this. There were technical difficulties with the sound right off the bat that forced her to improvise and entertain the crowd, but all that did was allow Elle’s beautiful personality to shine. She first performed an acapella of her song “Leaf” by fan request and then grabbed her guitar and performed her fan favorite song “Number One”. What followed was a bunch of quirky impromptu interactions with the audience, her shouting out her “Elle-phants” in the front row, and even giving two of her biggest fans her rings right off of her hand.
As the sound came back, so did the energy as she emphatically went into her debut single “Only Wanna Give it to You”, even rapping J. Cole’s verse word for word. Backed by her band who were decked out in shirts saying “F*ck it All”, she applauded those who were single just like her, joking that she wasn’t jealous of those in the audience who were in a relationship! She continued to entertain while performing songs from her debut “Perfectly Imperfect” as well as her upcoming “Four Letter Word” album; including “F*ck it all”. A highlight of the evening was her rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Goin On” which she dedicated to the events going on in the U.S. currently.