FOUR times in 2010 I’ve been fortunate to witness the force that is V.V. Brown. The ubiquitous Brown is back in New York City for another intimate gig at my favorite venue in town, Bowery Ballroom. Since I saw her U.S. debut in LA during Grammy Week, she has popped up everywhere, determined to make her mark in the States: Ellen, MTV, free gigs in Apple stores, deejaying at Rockit in NYC, Pandora, TV program integrations, radio, she’s everywhere!
What I like about V.V. Brown is that you can’t box her in to any genre of music. Her debut album, Traveling Like the Light, is chock-full of catchy songs that weave in and out of pop, bee-bop, hip-hop and R&B. Ironically, she cleverly boxes herself in (literally) in her lesser-known video for the sock-hop ditty, “Leave!” It’s sort of V.V.’s answer to Beyonce’s “Irreplaceable.” Warning: Take a Dramamine before watching:
As expected, V.V. was phenomenal. She emerged wearing her now-signature Mardi Gras mask and performed “Everybody.” She must have some collection masks — it’s different every time I see her. She told the crowd that tonight is her first headlining gig in the U.S. Plus, she now has a horns section and a saxophonist. Brilliant. Her powerful “Game Over,” and upbeat “Bottles,” “Back in Time” and “L.O.V.E.” were all covered. The aforementioned “Leave!” was performed after she explained it is about an ex-boyfriend (told with some colorful expletives). I also loved “Crying Blood,” both the record version and her Jamaican-influenced reggae version. As she has in all her shows, she covered Drake’s hip-hop anthem “Best I Ever Had.”
My favorite moments were her softer, more vulnerable songs, which I never heard her sing before. “I Love You” is a very sweet, tender song… but it was “Traveling With The Light” that really impressed me. V.V. alone at the keyboards right in front of me. It was the first time she performed this song live, and it was “incredible, so incredible, I was traveling like New York lights.” She closed with her hit “Shark in the Water,” and returned for one encore, “Quick Fix.” V.V. is a solid, consistent performer. It’s great to see her take off. Support my girl, V.V.!