R&B singer Miguel puts on an energetic show

By LUIS CURIEL | March 29, 2018

B4_Miguel

THE COME UP SHOW/ CC BY 2.5

Miguel brought his tour promoting the album War & Leisure to Baltimore . 

Over our spring break, Baltimore had the opportunity to host the R&B singer Miguel at the Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric as part of his War & Leisure tour.

The concert had the snowstorm that saw the shutdown of most of the City, from stores to schools, as its backdrop. 

However, by the time the concert arrived, the snow had stopped falling, and the roads had been mostly cleared. The show went on, and it did not disappoint. 

Miguel’s tour follows the release of his album of the same name. The album — his fourth — garnered critical acclaim and even a comparison to Prince from Pitchfork

With features from artists like Rick Ross, Travis Scott and J. Cole, as well as other R&B singers like Kali Uchis, War & Leisure is a thematically and stylistically complex album. 

Miguel delivers often dark and threatening but weirdly sensual lyrics on songs with titles like “Banana Clip” and “Criminal,” which live alongside “Sky Walker” and “Come Through and Chill.” 

The artist combines the violence of the political moment with the more common R&B themes of love, loss and sex. 

Having never been to The Lyric, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fortunately, the security lines were quick, there was food available for purchase and I had a great view of the performance. 

The audience was not too familiar with the opening act SiR, but he managed to bring some energy to the stage with his R&B tunes and attempts to get the crowd involved in the performance. 

It was a great lead-up to the headliner Miguel, whose style flowed well with the mood set up by SiR. In the 30 minute wait between SiR and Miguel, the center of the concert hall filled up more and more.

By the beginning of Miguel’s performance, it was looking like everyone who purchased tickets was able to make it to the show. 

Miguel opened up his performance with a powerful short video of him visiting the San Bernardino County Detention Center. 

The video addressed the topic of immigration and ended with a message explaining that a portion of the sales from the tour’s merchandise would be donated to the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. 

Miguel’s social activism is prominent in his career, and this video statement felt neither heavy-handed nor forced. 

He is using his star power to fight for marginalized communities associated with his own heritage. (His father is Mexican-American and his mother is African-American.)

Miguel also embraces his heritage in his music and performance, at one point singing and addressing the crowd in Spanish. 

The songs he performed, from “Criminal” to “Do You...,” not only showcased his uncanny talent but also a blend of styles such as hip hop, electronic and a dash of rock. 

His musical range was a highlight of the concert, showing off his falsetto ability as well as his skills with a guitar that he seamlessly brought onto the stage, leaving the audience (and me) fully entranced. 

Not to be outdone were his DJ, bassist, drummer and guitarist, who reinforced the mood and added to the hype levels that had been established. Each of them were at their very best and allowed the crowd to witness Miguel’s sensual dance moves for each of his songs. 

Additionally, the lights and jumbotron added a feeling of sensuality and euphoria to a performance that was filled with incredible moments. 

His encore was somehow the biggest flex of his talent, consisting of three songs, including “Sky Walker,” his hit with Travis Scott, and the Grammy-winning “Adorn,” both of which had the audience singing along at the top of their lungs. 

Miguel’s performance at The Lyric was one of the most, if not the most, sensual, passionate performances I’ve seen. His blending of styles and his powerful voice grabbed the audience and never let go. 

His dance moves kept you focused on him, and his supporting cast held their own when given the opportunity to wow the audience with solos. 

Although Mother Nature tried its best to make sure that nobody had fun in Baltimore on the first day of spring, Miguel prevailed. At the end of the night, he had everyone singing along, “I wanna fuck all night.” 

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