Home / Music / Concert Reviews / Lizzo w/ Cavanaugh @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Lizzo w/ Cavanaugh @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Feb. 20, 2016

Feb. 22, 2016
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Photo credit: Melissa Miller
Although the music world is lousy with myths about overnight success, and just enough true stories to make it seem tantalizingly possible, that’s rarely how it works. For most it is a slow, gradual process, requiring an unreasonable degree of persistence, a couple of lucky breaks and quite a bit of decidedly unglamorous work, which is why it’s always heartening to see a deserving artist move up another rung. And yet, the transition through that weird, treacherous gray area between the underground and the mainstream is always a little awkward, as musicians attempt to find their footing on shifting sands. There’s always a slight tension to the situation, making it a particularly interesting time to be an observer, as was certainly the case as up-and-comer Lizzo brought her first headlining tour to Turner Hall Ballroom.

It’s obvious that the Minneapolis-based MC is going places, but arriving to find cordons set up to corral a nonexistent line, it appeared her local fanbase may have been somewhat overestimated. Inside, it was all too easy to find a seat for openers Cavanaugh and what happened to be the last show for the duo made up of Michael Eagle and David Cohn. Their songs, self-consciously dorky with blunted downtempo beats, are charming, but the lengthy interludes between were just confusing. Beyond some quasi-humorous skits—the type that are staples of full-length rap records but infrequently heard in concert—they often dropped the kind of banter that signals you are finishing up (“We have been…”, “… is up next” and so on), but at the actual end of their 45-minute set just sort of walked off.

As Lizzo’s DJ killed a bit of time—to be expected from someone just graduating from miniscule clubs and warm-up sets to dates of their own—the place filled up, or at least enough so as not to feel totally empty. While small, the crowd clearly knew who they were there to see, and were excited as she strolled out, with zero fanfare, and launched into her set. Naturally drawn from the Big GRRRL Small World album which lends the tour its name, her impressive, but relatively unassuming, performance showed off Lizzo’s considerable talents as both rapper and singer. Sprinkled here and there were conspiratorial comments about all the slowpokes that would catch on by the next time she was in town, which, despite a few rough edges, were incredibly easy to believe.


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