April 14th, 2011 | Live reviews

Unlike the Thom Yorke DJ set at Low End in March, Erykah Badu’s seemed to be a secret well-kept until the few hours right before her performance. The first lady of neo-soul finally took the stage at around midnight, after sets by Nocando and Co.fee. The dance floor was packed and steamy as she played a mix of 90s hip hop and old-school R&B–Rick James’ “I Love You Mary Jane” drew a particularly good response—and contemporary hip-hop, like Dilla’s “Workingonit.” Sporting in a headband made of blue-and-gold Macaw feathers, Thundercat supplemented the beats on bass while the crowd went insane, taking pictures, waving their arms in the air, singing along to the songs they knew. Screams of “Marry me Erykah Badu!” “I love you Erykah Badu” emanated from the front rows any time there was a lull in the crowd; Miss Badu smiled and waved and blew kisses in return, her jewelry flashing under the lights and yes, she looked gorgeous. Minus a turban, perhaps, she looked just as beautiful as when she appeared in “Appletree”, wearing an off-the-shoulder turquoise shift with her hair long and natural. After her 45-minute-long set (give or take), FlyLo stepped from the shadows, thanked her for coming, and asked her if he could play the song they had worked on a couple nights ago. “Play that shit!” a young man screamed from the crowd, followed by “And marry me, Erykah!” Erykah Badu blew kisses at him and held up her hands to display tattoos (or was it henna?) and FlyLo obliged, playing a song filled with Erykah Badu’s vocals layered in harmonies over a dance-friendly beat. It was surprisingly poppy and even radio-friendly—will Flying Lotus conquer the pop charts next? After that came some tunes Thundercat’s upcoming solo album—and if we weren’t looking forward to his new record before, we are now! Afterwards Gaslamp Killer took the mic and instructed the crowd to make some noise for Japan before playing “I Am The Walrus” and “Happiness is a Warm Gun.” Bang bang, shoot shoot!

Kristina Benson

(Photos forthcoming!)