with Shaed, Manaetee Commune
The Social; Orlando, FL • May 16, 2017
by Jen Cray
Bishop Briggs is an “artist to watch.” If you can score a ticket, that is, which you probably can’t because her shows are selling out coast to coast. For good reason — she’s the real deal. She’s not coasting on internet buzz, or PR hype, she’s got the skills, the songs, the presence, and the stage production to be dominating the big stages.
And her voice? Imagine Florence Welch’s more gospel sounding younger sister. With pipes like that she could be singing children’s nursery rhymes and they’d still sound earth shattering, but wrap that voice around darkly soulful electropop that drips with a hip-hop flair and you’ve got the kind of musician who makes the club kids and the music snobs salivate.
The London-born, Tokyo-raised, Los Angeles native sold-out The Social and gave Orlando the kind of set that later deprives you of sleep after because the rhythms are so irrepressibly stuck in your head. Mesmerizing, infectious, hypnotic — the young twentysomething is all these things already, and she’s only just released her debut EP. I spy a galactic rise for this young star.
Also on the rise, opener Shaed (pronounced “shade”) whose frontwoman Chelsea Lee is another woman with a voice that can melt both hearts and minds. With a purity and clarity that’s in the Taylor Swift/ Beyonce realm, Lee could easily step into the Pop stratosphere, but instead infuses her vocals with a soulful sensibility and a R&B groove that turns the trio’s electronic pop sound into something more cerebral. The Ernst twins (Max and Spencer) sandwich her on either side on keyboards and electronic drums (and frequently swap positions and instruments), but it’s Lee’s unreal voice that’s the centerpiece of this band. Their position as direct support for Bishop Briggs is a match made in heaven.
The surprise achievement of the night was Manatee Commune. You wouldn’t expect a solo electronic artist — who plays everything from drums, to keyboards, to guitar, to violin during his set — to have an audience hanging on his every beat as they were, but such was the case. The red head savant looped his own performances in with pre-recorded vocals to create a chill, but trippy vibe that was more zen than acid trip and had a bit of a bounce to it — like a dancier Bayonne. It was a completely unexpected homerun of an opening set that contributed to the grand slam bill that followed.