Although Detroit-based group Flint Eastwood had no cool light effects, pyrotechnics, fancy backdrops or any of the trappings of a major event, they put on one hell of a concert. I completely understand now why the show sold out, and why Flint Eastwood’s fans will drive hundreds of miles for a live show.
Fellow Detroiter NYDGE (pronounced with a hard “i” like Nigel), currently on tour supporting Flint Eastwood, likewise needed a minimal amount of gear to entertain the packed house. His dreamy, original, synth-created compositions were as smooth as silk, creating a super chill atmosphere.
Although he lists his genre as electropop or indietronica (TBH, I didn’t even know that was a thing), I also detected a pleasant R&B undercurrent in some of his songs. Whatever you call it, his music put everyone in a relaxed state of mind, kind of like a nice glass of wine before dinner.
When Flint Eastwood, came out, however, any sense of tranquility vaporized. Striding onto the stage like she owned it, vocalist Jax Anderson immediately took command of the audience, who willingly bowed to her will. When she told them to dance, they did. When she told them to crouch down, they did. When she told them, “Shhhh,” the entire room fell silent.
That’s a lot of people to get to be quiet, especially people in a party mood on a Friday night. Frequently leaning over the edge of the stage, Anderson alternately wooed and challenged her audience, who hung on to her every word.
Backed by brother Seth (aka Sybling) on drums, touring bassist Joel Parks, and some slick tracks, Anderson was a ball of energy on stage. Dressed in Carhartt work overalls and sporting her signature braids, she belted out song after song with a sweet voice and a polish rivalling that of any mega-pop star. Her swagger, however, was more like that of a rapper, and there was a healthy dose of gritty Motor City mojo in her attitude.
The genre-defying set reflected pop, rock, indie and techno influences with crowd favorites like “Glitches,” “Small Victories,” “Rewind,” and the latest single, “Monster,” all of which are as unique and different from each other as Flint Eastwood is from other artists. And maybe that’s the crucial element in Flint Eastwood’s fan base – there’s something for everyone to love.
Or maybe it’s the fact that Anderson seems to genuinely care about her fans, and about people in general. More than once Friday night, she exhorted them to be strong, to be kind, and to work hard. Before launching into the encore with her signature anthem, “Queen,” she again silenced the audience and spoke directly to them, saying “I have a message to the ladies out there…you are just as good as your heroes.\”