[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ne of the joys with modern artists is the complex mix of influences that shape their music. Taking the classic sounds of country, soul, blues, jazz, funk in a blend of sounds that together make the artist greater than trying to conform to any one specific genre. Athens, AL native Anderson East is one such artist. His powerful voice carries all the weight of deep southern blues, a range and rasp from past eras of funk and soul a la James Brown, and all the clarity and finesse needed to croon a heart rending ballad. Anderson played for a sold out crowd at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. wasting no time grabbing the audience by the ears and dragging them into the thick of his genre blending sound with the upbeat but lyrically heavy, “Sorry You’re Sick,” East’s set was a southern juggernaut that barely paused for a breath through his 12 song set. In addition to his versatile vocals, East was backed by a full band and as a quintessential showman he played to both the energy of the band and the crowd in equal measure. Though he’s only released two albums to date, the most recent being 2018’s Encore, there is no question that East has found his voice. His infectious energy and dance inducing sound made sure that great performances of the night came from both a mix of old and new material. A favorite of the night came early with East’s awesome performance of “Girlfriend”, showcasing the power of his voice and letting the band turn up the heat making sure there wasn’t a still body in the place.
“I can’t fight it
She got me hot and bothered
Her ring rock ’round her finger
Showing me I shouldn’t want her
And brother we might have problems
Cause she’s tearin’ me down and I’m tempted
And I ain’t gonna say I’m sorry now
I think I’m in love with your girlfriend”
Other great moments of the night were ballads “King For A Day” and “Devil In Me”, proving that East’s power doesn’t rely solely on vocal brute strength. At 30 years old, East is just getting started and without question will be one to watch in the coming years. East is currently on tour with his full band and Jade Bird with summer dates throughout the Midwest. Regardless of the type of music you think you like, East’s energy has something for everyone and is a performer you can’t afford to miss.
CULTURE (counter, pop, and otherwise) and the people who shape it.