LA Weekly

Looking for a new favorite artist? Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! On May 29th I had the pleasure of watching Gallant open for John Legend at the Greek Theatre. To call Gallant an enthralling performer would be an understatement.

Though not quite yet a household name, Gallant has had a considerably notable year so far. His album, Ology, was nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Urban Contemporary Album category. He was listed on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and was featured on NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert SeriesGallant was also named a “New Face in Music” by the New York Timesand praised by already established legends such as Quincy Jones and Seal in “A Legend in the Making.”

Watching Gallant in action, it’s easy to see why the 25-year-old, soon to be phenom has been generating so much buzz. He’s mesmerizing. I have never seen a crowd as engaged with an opening act as they were with Gallant. There were audience members up and dancing, there were groups of friends singing along with Gallant’s buttery falsetto, and it was clear that the loud applause featured a number of longtime fans, as well as newly (and instantly) made ones.

Wearing a simple getup of jeans, a navy blazer, and a white shirt, Gallant’s piece of flare (other than his voice) was, fittingly, his microphone. Adorned in gold, it honored his hit single, “Weight in Gold,” as well as the cover of Ology.

The show opened with “Percogesic.” It’s an easy to listen to, laid back song equipped with ghostly falsetto and dominated by bass, steadily consistent drums, and keyboard synth. It was followed by “Bone & Tissue,” which features a killer chorus that enabled Gallant to introduce the crowd to his signature falsetto belt.

And let me tell you, this introduction did not go unnoticed. There were many yelps and cheers throughout the entirety of the chorus’ beautifully written lyrics: “Sell me something I can use to catapult my value / Treat me like the cardinal anointed in my vessels / And any time I bite the hand that feeds / Won’t you lie through your teeth and / Tell me I’m a monument to more than bone and tissue?”

Gallant is an energetic performer, making sure to cover the entire stage and captivate the eyes that are on him, whether singing songs like “Bourbon” or “Episode.” At times, he would make wild arm movements as he moved around the stage, as if not in control of his own body. At others, he would stop still and sing into the microphone while gazing intensely into the crowd with a musical fire in his eyes. There was never a moment where he left me bored; I never wanted to look away, afraid to miss the next exciting bodily gesticulation that accompanied his insanely skilled vocals.

One of my favorite moments of the show was when Gallant was so absorbed in his performance, that he didn’t realize his microphone chord had wrapped around the microphone stand. He had been moving back and forth across the stage, in wonderful Gallant fashion, carrying the microphone with him, and eventually the microphone’s chord got so tangled up in the stand that the stand fell over.

Of course, being the professional he is, Gallant kept going – jumping up and down, continuing his bold movements, completely engaged in his performance. One of his crew members came out from stage left to pick the stand back up. Gallant saw this, and as soon as as the stand was put back up, he went up to it and playfully made a show of knocking it down again. The crew member could be seen laughing offstage and shaking his head with a gleeful smile. And that’s what makes a show fun: seeing the artist let loose and have fun, too.

Gallant will continue as the opening act for John Legend’s Darkness and Light Tour for approximately the next month, ending his run at Madison Square Garden on June 27th. He will then play at festivals in New Orleans, Japan, and South Korea.

I look forward to seeing where else this year takes Gallant – a rising star, no doubt, and soon-to-be household name.

Full Set List:
1) Percogesic
2) Bone & Tissue
3) Bourbon
4) Talking to Myself
5) Skipping Stones
6) Shotgun
7) Episode
8) Jupiter
9) Weight in Gold

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