Adeline’s French New Wave
Why is it that the French always seem to do things better? Adeline Michele’s show at The Middle East on February 21 was an intimate affair, but her performance proved what it means to pave your own path in the music industry.
The night started with Citrvs, a relatively small group from the Boston area with only 22 monthly Spotify listeners. However, the leaders, Aidan Thomas and Tizy, carried the group in a way that would convince audiences otherwise. Individually, they bring in an old school R&B sound, Aidan’s singing and rapping on their tracks is almost reminiscent of a young Lauryn Hill while Tizy sings soulfully, similarly to Faith Evans.
They performed tracks from their first EP, Duration, showing off their neo-soul vibe that syncs them all as one. Their songs all have a laid back feel—something a listener would put on when they’re just in the mood to sway along. They surprised the audience with “Mai Tai,” a more upbeat yet still relaxed hit with hints of reggae that could put anyone in the mood to be on a beach.
An interesting addition to the group is their flutist, Val. She joined them on stage for select songs—“Mai Tai,” “Figure It Out,” and “Lifetime.” It’s something that people wouldn’t generally think belongs in a neo-soul/R&B group but her effect on the flow of their music is alluring. The flute adds a new flavor to their sound that separates them from other rising groups in Boston. Citrvs is fresh to the world of music and performance, which is evident in their stage presence, but their music shows that the group knows what they’re doing.
As Adeline got onto the stage, she chatted with her band before looking into the crowd and waving to the audience with a gracious smile. Introducing herself, she playfully enunciated her name, reminding the crowd of its pronounciation, which is also the name of her debut record, [ad-uh-leen].
The Paris-born, French-Caribbean singer has been in love with music since she was five years old and it shows. She happily danced her way around the stage while simultaneously and effectively raising everyone’s energy—a carefree black woman in her truest form. For those that didn’t know of her before the show, this sure was the perfect way to make an impression.
She began the night with “Emeralds,” a slower neo-soul/R&B song with hints of disco and a heavy bass line, setting the mood for the night. The minute the red stage lights hit her skin and the beat settled in, the energy in the room lifted. Her voice was no different than the recording and she perfectly hit every single note.
One of the best things about the show were her bass skills. She played her pink and white bass as if it was the easiest thing in the world. She had this intoxicating intensity to her that made everyone in the audience break into dance.
With “Hi Life,” one of her more dance-y, electronic songs, the singer herself couldn’t keep still. She moved her hips, kicked her legs in the air the entire song while still managing to sound as if she was performing a ballad. Her hair bounced around as she hopped around, coming to the edge of the stage, shouting for everyone to dance more and get closer.
As she finished the last song she jokingly mentioned doing another and as the audience cheered in approval, she agreed. She began asking for any recommendations but before she could even finish someone screamed “Café Au Lait,” the only song that’s written and sung in French on her debut. She ultimately decided on a mystery song that wasn’t on her album—perhaps a sneak-peak of some future work—that was drenched in disco style, maintaining the shared joy in the room for one last time. As she set her bass down, all the moves came out. She jumped around, graciously waving her hands from side to side, as she performed dance moves that corresponded with the lyrics.
“Thank you!” she screamed loudly and happily into the mic with a big smile. As the song finished up she continued dancing and eventually the lights came up. Adeline made her way off the stage before heading into the back as her band high fived one another and began packing up. As the beat faded, gone went the bright red and neon blues and pinks, and soon came the fluorescent white.
Anyone that wants to get into different types of music should make their way on over to Adeline. She’s a ball of energy whose hybrid-like music and soulful voice I wouldn’t mind hearing every day. Adeline showed the audience what it truly means to beautifully mix music as she bewitchingly blends funk, disco, R&B, dance, and electronic genres.