There was only one disappointment from Blood Orange’s performance Wednesday night at the Danforth Music Hall and that was the lack of an encore. Dev Hynes’ second album as Blood Orange, Cupid Deluxe, which dropped at the tail end of 2013, served as the main attraction of the night. Opening with the album’s first track “Chamakay,” Hynes led the house into a seductive funk-infused trance for a set that only left the audience wanting more.
A standout rendition of “Uncle Ace” seemed to be the concert’s centrepiece. Already a highlight track off Cupid Deluxe, “Uncle Ace” was embellished with two chill-inducing solos courtesy of backing saxophone and guitar players. For a musician/producer whose studio tracks are so perfectly polished, it was rather surprising, and delightfully so, how tightly Hynes’ 6-piece band jammed together. I mean, that sax, guys. That sax. And it was hard to look away from co-vocalist Ava Raiin, whose beautiful chops shone as she took over numbers like Solange’s “Bad Girls” (produced by Hynes), and “No Right Thing” ala Dirty Projectors’ Dave Longstreth.
Ever the unconventional frontman, Hynes skidded around the stage, sometimes hiding in the very back and only just whispering into the microphone. But the dizzying disco he conducted highlighted the nuanced talent amongst Hynes’ band. And with an excellent execution, there was really no need to be coy. Then again, the hazy dance Hynes lead might have been just the compliment to the chic ambience that’s come to define Blood Orange.
Ending with “Time will Tell,” Hynes’ cleverly wrapped up the evening by echoing the lyrics, “Come into my bedroom,” which he actually begun his performance with. Those same lyrics appear on “Champagne Coast,” the final track of Blood Orange’s debut album, Coastal Grooves. Only after the lights came on and security began to escort everyone out did fans give up hopes for an encore. But considering the fact that Toronto’s show was one of only four scheduled for the summer, there isn’t really much to complain about.