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Concert Experience

Blood Orange at Emo's

March 18, 2019

After deciding on my album or the year for 2018,

Negro Swan

, I knew I had to see Dev Hynes (Blood Orange) in person. My friends and I bought tickets for the February 22


show at Emo’s in Austin months in advance. Once there, we joined the already long line and listened to the muffled sounds of Dev and Shugga warming up. Once inside there was a merch table selling mainly medium shirts and some physical copies of Dev’s discography, and a group gathering at the stage. While we waited in the crowd Dev had a playlist consisting of only Mac Miller songs playing softly over the speakers. Miller touched many lives with his music, so it was nice to hear Dev’s small tribute.

Soon the playlist faded and Dev’s frequent collaborator and backup singer, Ian Isiah, sauntered on stage with a cup of tea and a huge stage presence. Accompanied by only a pianist, Isiah played a few songs from his most recent release

Shugga Sextape, Vol. 1.

Shugga strutted and danced on stage hitting notes that seemed impossible, further hyping up the crowd for what would be a fantastic concert. After singing one of my personal favorites, “God”, Shugga sang his rendition of a gospel song he used to sing with his grandmother. He then concluded his short set, thanked the audience, and exited sipping his tea most likely in preparation to sing backup for Dev.

After about 30 minutes, the stage was set, and Blood Orange entered the room wearing his classic leather cap and baggy slacks. He was accompanied by Ian Isiah and Eva Tolkin (EVA) as backup singers, as well as three more members playing drums, bass, and synth. Dev went on to play an amazing set consisting of songs mainly from his most recent album

Negro Swan.

The crowd was singing every lyric and that only fueled Hynes’ energy. I have never seen someone as talented as Blood Orange live. He went from shredding his guitar on songs like “Charcoal Baby”, to playing beautiful piano on “Minetta Creek”. After playing most of his popular songs, most of the band exited and he brought out his acoustic. Ian Isiah and EVA stayed on stage with Dev to close out the performance with the final song off of

Negro Swan,

“Smoke”. Afterwards, he thanked the audience for coming out and left the stage to shouts of an encore.

Looking back, this might have been the best concert I’ve ever attended. Dev put on a fantastic show, and Ian’s opening was almost as good. The crowd really got into all of the music and it was great to see someone so passionate about their music played live. Listening to Blood Orange is one thing but experiencing him live is another. Dev can play guitar and piano with almost equal skill and hearing his improvisations live was amazing. I would highly recommend seeing Blood Orange live and if you haven’t listened, you should definitely check out

Negro Swan


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