Monday, October 29, 2012

Live review: B.O.B., Dixie's Tavern (10/26/2012)

Posted By on Mon, Oct 29, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Dixie's Tavern
Oct. 27, 2012

B.o.B’s final words to the crowd of thousands of Charlotteans summed up the tone of the Gravedigger's Ball at Dixie’s Tavern on Saturday night: “Don’t drink and drive,” he said. “Get high and fly.”

Not exactly the eloquence and poetry he’s become known for in his songs. Nevertheless, to a crowd which came to party, this was just the encouragement needed to keep the party going after B.o.B.’s high energy set took everything the crowd could give.

Atlanta-born B.o.B (or Bobby Ray, as fans fondly know him) took the stage in shades and a hat as though wanting to hide his face so the music could take center stage. For a guy whose biggest hits tend to be collaborations with bigger stars, the concept of him performing alone with nothing but a mic and a DJ could have been a disaster. Luckily, the moment he hit the stage, he quickly showed why he was able to make such great collaborations in the first place — the guy is talented.

B.o.B.’s had a slew of Top 40 hits in the last couple of years, and he immediately whipped out crowd favorites like “Both of Us,” his newest hit featuring Taylor Swift, and “Airplanes,” featuring Hayley Williams of Paramore. But what makes those records so great are his lyrics and powerhouse performance. He rocked the stage solo, leaping into the crowd to get up close and personal as he poured emotion into the words.

B.o.B. doesn’t need to rely on clever beats and synthetic sounds to make it in the music world. The guy knows how to turn a phrase. As he launched into some freestyling, his carefully crafted lyrics came naturally, just like the charisma he radiates even when hidden in a hoodie and sunglasses.

The crowd was champing at the bit by the time he launched into “Strange Clouds,” the namesake of his latest album. After all, not only is it a party anthem, but it’s also an infectious track. The versatile performer can go from pop-love anthems (“Nothin’ on You”) to raps featuring Morgan Freeman (who features in “Bombs Away,” the intro track on Strange Clouds) to just being Bobby Ray, the kid from Atlanta who likes to rap. And it turns out that Bobby Ray is just as appealing in real life as the guy portrayed in the video countdown.

People were practically in tears when he left the stage. The party kept going, but the energy B.o.B. brought was the highlight of the night.

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