A stylish, excited and absolutely not sober crowd packed Le Baron Monday night for musician Dan Black’s private show. After the success of his song “Symphonies” featuring downtown Lower East Side party boy turned superstar Kid Cudi, UK native Black made his own downtown splash in the Absolut Encore concert series.
Le Baron’s décor is a mixture of 1920’s Shanghai opium den opulence mixed with futuristic touches—neon lights, disco ball, smoke machines and what appeared to be a glowing pink robot near the stage. The setting was perfect for Black’s sound: defiant, dance-y electronic beats with his soaring vocals and sometimes rap inspired rhyming.
Joining Black onstage were a drummer and guitarist, both wearing large masks. One, a white rabbit with a black eye and chewed off ear, the other a bruised monkey with a large band-aid on his face. Cartoonish without being too comedic, the costumes suggested instead, a battered schoolboy’s fantasies. Many of Black’s lyrics deal with first love, how it hurts and a yearning for fantasy worlds where everything is grander, greater, burns brighter.
The crowd danced and cheered along, wrapped up in Black’s charisma and vulnerability. Though he has the triumphant edge of someone who has faced reality and yet remained a dreamer. When audience members shouted out song requests, Black countered “What’s that? Play whatever I want? Okay, I will.”
Absolut Encore! is recording live music twice a month at Le Baron, for their YouTube TV show.