Though hardly a new musical fixture, profound and genius English artist Dev Hynes has found immense critical acclaim for his latest, r&b and electronic drenched solo vehicle Blood Orange, particularly since the release of last year’s stunning fourth album Negro Swan, widely regarded as one of if not the best album of 2018. On tour for a handful of dates in celebration, Blood Orange is set to play Nashville for what appears to be the first time ever under his current moniker tonight, Feb. 26 at Cannery Ballroom, along with buzzy synth pop breakout Porches. Sure to be one of the best, most stylish, modern, and profound shows you’ll see all year, we urge you to grab tickets right here while they last, then read on for more about the show!
While the last few years have brought more widespread critical acclaim and mainstream attention than ever before, Dev Hynes, the enigmatic and dynamic English musician who currently performs as Blood Orange, has had a staggeringly prolific and creatively unrivaled career for the past decade and a half. Raised in East London, the now 33-year-old Hynes got his start in short-lived by critically lauded dance-punk outfit Test Icicles, whose one and only album was released in 2005. Immediately after, Dev began cultivating his solo career under the moniker Lightspeed Champion, turning to legendary Omaha producer Mike Mogis to help craft his 2008 debut Falling Off the Lavender Bridge. That and subsequent 2010 effort Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You, both took on an indie rock rooted, folky bent, and saw Hynes and a revolving, all-star cast of live performers tour the world, appear at festivals, and cultivate an enthusiastic following.
During a hiatus from touring between Lightspeed Champion records, forced by a surgery to treat damage to his threat, Dev began working on a material that took on a distinctly new direction, which would eventually adapt the name Blood Orange. Pulling from r&b, electronica, new wave, indie pop, funk, alternative, and soul music, Blood Orange formally debuted with 2011 LP Coastal Grooves and 2013 followup Cupid Deluxe, garnering plenty of early hype and a Coachella spot, but it was 2016’s Freetown Sound and then last year’s near-perfect epic Negro Swan, which helped catapult Blood Orange to a whole new stratosphere of critical acclaim, earning countless album of the year accolades, and cementing Hynes as one of modern r&b’s most essential, prolific, and important fixtures. On Negro Swan, Hynes explains that the profound album “is an exploration into my own and many types of black depression, an honest look at the corners of black existence, and the ongoing anxieties of queer/people of color. A reach back into childhood and modern traumas, and the things we do to get through it all. The underlying thread through each piece on the album is the idea of HOPE, and the lights we can try to turn on within ourselves with a hopefully positive outcome of helping others out of their darkness.”
For his own output alone, Dev Hynes is an essential and must-see musical fixture, but in addition to his years of solo output, he’s also found time to rack up countless other impressive accomplishments: scoring the film Palo Alto and contributing songs to MacGruber, scoring art pieces and staging performances with famed composer Philip Glass, and writing, playing, or producing on tracks for the likes of Tinashe, Solange Knowles, Sky Ferreira, FKA twigs, Haim, Florence and the Machine, Carly Rae Jepsen, Diana Vickers, The Chemical Brothers, Kylie Minogue, A$AP Rocky, Blondie, Mariah Carey, and more, among countless other monumental and diverse achievements. Blood Orange is simply the latest and best vehicle yet for Dev Hynes’ genius, and on the heels of his most essential record ever, there’s never been a better time to see him live.
Over the past few years, New York synth pop project Porches, helmed by eclectic artist Aaron Maine, has become a critically beloved fixture in the indie scene, especially since breaking out on a wider scale with soaring 2015 sophomore effort, Pool, which Maine followed up last year with gloriously synthy, layered, and masterful new album The House. With his dreamy, layered, synth-drench textures and soaring pop sensibilities, Porches has proven to be a perfect compliment to acts on both the modern pop spectrum as well as the indie rock world (notably, he played the pop-anchored and LGBTQ+ geared Church Street Block Party here in 2017, then returned last year for a co-headlining date with indie darlings Girlpool), and his stylish, contemporary aesthetic will vibe perfectly with Blood Orange. Show up early!
Blood Orange and Porches will perform tonight, Feb. 26 at Cannery Ballroom. The show is 18+, begins at 8 p.m. (doors at 7 p.m.), and tickets are available to purchase for $30.