GIG REVIEW: Janelle Monae & Grace Carter at SSE Wembley Arena

WORTH A LOOK?: *****

WHERE? SSE Wembley Arena

WHEN? 2/7/19

SETLIST: Dirty Computer; Crazy, Classic Life; Take A Byte; Screwed; Django Jane; QUEEN; Electric Lady; Prime Time; Pynk; Yoga; I Like That; Don’t Judge Me; Make Me Feel; I Got The Juice; Cold War; Tightrope; Come Alive

We are standing towards the back of this 12,500-capacity venue by the mixing desk when we see Lupita Nyong’o wearing sunglasses flanked by security guards rush by.

  • Read on for reasons including what part Star Wars actress Nyong’o played at this gig

We last saw Monae at Camden Roundhouse in September and were aware that during fine dance song I Got The Juice that the singer invited a celebrity onstage to bust some moves as well as audience members.

Nyong’o is preceded by 2 women who are wearing ‘vagina trousers’ which cause a stir here, where the bisexual singer sings openly about her enthusiasm for that particular body part, let alone what commotion they might have caused on a crowded Tube train on the way to this north London venue.

Celebrity appearance aside, the I Got The Juice segment is a brilliant way of showcasing the devotion that Monae’s fans have for her as well as celebrating their role in elevating her career.

We feel slightly unpatriotic being here cheering on this American singer as the concert coincides with the England Women’s Football World Cup semi-final against the US which the Lionesses lose 2-1 after missing a late penalty.

But Monae’s no big fan of the way the US is currently run demanding at 1 point that: ‘We must impeach Donald Trump’.

There are several moving moments seemingly dedicated to former mentor Prince not least the Kiss-ish Make Me Feel which won our Best Song monsta last year and shows what an icon in her own right Monae can be.

The set is very similar to the 1 she played at Glastonbury Festival 2 nights before which drew much praise and closes with Monae diving into her own mosh pit, this time with all the participants crouching, which makes for quite a sight. It closes with her wrapped in the rainbow Pride flag ahead of that festival’s weekend celebrations in London.

Special mention to support Grace Carter who finished 3rd in BBC Music’s Sound of 2019 poll and whose self-penned Sia-like songs we expect to be hearing much more of. Gig of the year so far? Quite possibly.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Janelle Monae. Tickets
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