Review: Gallant and Eryn Allen Kane @ U Street Music Hall 8.23.16
A piercing, powerful falsetto initially drew me to Christopher Gallant, better known as simply Gallant, when I first heard him sing Sufjan Steven’s “Blue Bucket of Gold” for the In The Room series earlier this year. The Columbia, MD native has been busy since releasing his Zebra EP in 2014: his debut album Ology dropped earlier this year and he’s gained a loving and dedicated fanbase, as proven by the long line to get into Tuesday’s sold-out show at U Street Music Hall.
When opener Eryn Allen Kane took the stage, fans eagerly greeted her as if she were the headliner. Backed by an incredibly tight and cohesive band, she led the audience through a mix of jazz, R&B, soul, and rock’n’roll. She seemed at home on stage, and charmed everyone with her voice, dancing, and strong musical moments like the pulsing build-up of her song “Dead or Alive.”
Kane also did multiple covers, including Prince’s “How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore” and the crowd-pleasing “Shout” by the Isley Brothers, complete with crouching. The versatile singer closed the set with a bit of go-go as a tribute to D.C., thrilling the audience with UCB’s “Sexy Lady” and letting fans sing when they knew the words better than she did.
There was a pretty standard 30-minute break between sets, but people were restless and excited for the main event. “When is he supposed to come on?” someone near me murmured. “It’s only 8:30?” At 8:45 p.m., the lights dimmed and the band members came out one by one. Each musician added to a dark, atmospheric intro until Gallant walked on and took the mic, his impressively high voice soaring over the cheers from the crowd.
Gallant’s performance ran just over an hour and showcased his unique vocals in a variety of styles. There was the retro-R&B bass-thumping “Bone + Tissue,” the smooth slow-jam “Bourbon,” and the seductive “Talking In Your Sleep,” which was brilliantly lit with red lights. He even did a rendition of Foo Fighters’ “Learn To Fly.” He talked a bit between songs, his deep speaking voice in stark contrast to his singing, but he really connected with the crowd through the music as he swayed from one side of the stage to the other. Every section of the room received attention.
The last song of the night (aside from a short encore) was his most popular track to-date: “Weight In Gold,” a jazzy tune accompanied by thick, pretty guitar lines. “Call me anxious, call me broke, but I can’t lift this on my own,” he sang in every chorus. He definitely wasn’t on his own—he had everyone singing along to every word.