Janelle Monae, the Hardest Working Woman in Show Buisness, at the Fillmore Miami Beach

Photo by Sayre Berman
Check out Crossfade's full 32-photo slideshow of Janelle Monáe at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

Janelle Monáe
With Roman GianArthur
Fillmore Miami Beach
Saturday, November 23, 2013

Better Than: James Brown reincarnated as a woman.

Janelle Monáe's set began with four roadies dressed in matching white pants, lab coats, bowties, and glasses clustered in front of the stage, seeming to be in the middle of an important conversation. Three of the men disappeared and the remaining "scientist" introduced himself as Dr. Marlo Mindbender. He hyped the crowd about a patient he would be releasing.

"Some of you look afraid, as you should be. Tonight, Janelle Monáe has come to fuck you up."

See also: A$AP Ferg Asks People to "Get Up Off They Ass and Work"

Photo by Sayre Berman
Check out Crossfade's full 32-photo slideshow of Janelle Monáe at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

Monáe, a Kansas City-raised, Atlanta-based neo-soul singer, belongs to the school of Andre 3000 and CeeLo Green. Her performances are equal parts church sermon, art-school project, and r&b, funk, and science fiction rave up.

Meanwhile, her uniform of androgynous pant suits (which could find her work at a caterer) and distinctive fauxhawk/pompadour hairstyle has developed a legion of imitators of both genders and all ages, many of whom were in attendance on Saturday night at the Fillmore Miami Beach.

Photo by Sayre Berman

The evening's backing band members -- a guitarist, bassist, horn section, two drummers, keyboard player, and two backup singers -- all dressed in matching black and white might seem like overkill to some. But Monáe, as evidenced by her entrance, is a performer who appreciates spectacle.

With the band already jamming, Dr. Minbender wheeled her in on a dolly, immobilized bya straitjacket, as if she were Hannibal Lecter. It was the only time during the 90-minute set when she was not in movement.

Photo by Sayre Berman

From the first song, "Givin Em What They Love," Monáe was a petite powder keg in a constant state of explosion: high-fiving the crowd, egging them on, and owning every corner of the stage.

We here at Crossfade have racked our brains, trying to think of another female singer who leads such a massive band while keeping all the attention on herself.

Location Info


The Fillmore Miami Beach

1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach, FL

Category: Music

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