After years in the business, Aloe Blacc has officially pushed through to the mainstream music scene. His syrupy soul-funk has a contemporary relevance that makes it applicable to audiences across the spectrum. Blacc proves his popularity as every party he plays throughout SXSW hits capacity. As his growing popularity would also insist, it is safe to say that there is plenty of room for his music in today’s scene.
When he opens the set, Blacc lets the crowd know that he is “The Man.” He channels his inner Stevie Wonder with dark shades, a sharp suit and a fedora. The endearing quality of his voice and his smile are utterly charming attributes that draw the full crowd in to the small, narrow back patio of Palm Door.
Between songs he proclaims, “I’m gonna keep writing the best songs I can,” and the crowd erupts into a roar. Next, he toasts with an acoustic version of his worldwide hit collaboration with Avicci, “Wake Me Up,” which has reached paramount levels on mainstream charts as well as regular radio play across the board. He officially brings the house down with “I Need a Dollar.” The entire audience continues to sing and dance along. Blacc engages with them further when he draws and imaginary line down the center of the packed pit and commands the Red Sea to part. He revives Soul Train’s glorious namesake “The Soul Train Line” by asking anyone who can dance to step into the new middle aisle and go for it.
The best part of Aloe Blacc’s music is how much joy it can bring to an audience. His performance is equally warm and exhilarating. With music festivals like Coachella next month on his tour schedule, it is no question whether he will keep busy this year. Here is hoping that he sails through the rest of his year as smoothly as he did through SXSW 2014.