The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA
02/21/2020

People expect a lot: of themselves, of each other, of the world. Personally, I expect to have enough time to pursue my work alongside my hobbies, but often find balancing the two comes with difficulty. Attending shows comes less easily than it did in my early 20s.

Despite my aches, I still go out because I expect to be wowed. Live performance brings improvisation and excitement into the monotony of daily life. In West Hollywood’s Troubadour on Friday night, I sought out crooner Dijon in pursuit of sonic enjoyment

Before Dijon and his guitar came Deaton Chris Anthony. A mixture of natural instruments and playful electronic bleeps, Anthony falls to the left side of Dijon’s bedroom soul. It definitely gave the evening a needed speed boost and led to a dance pit in the cramped, sweaty confines of the famed venue. For a brief moment, the night’s headliner even entered Anthony’s dance pit, wearing only his head and one arm through his hoody.

When Dijon took to the stage, his hoody remained in that same, lopsided position. This would not have been as noticeable had he not also stumbled around as he sang, hardly asserting control of the space that he sold out. His voice, already possessing a bit of a rasp, seemed especially gravelly, though it did hit the needed notes. The belting/screaming heard on “Violence” sounded like it hurt, which works for expressive purposes at the cost of a beautiful voice.

Not sharing in my qualms, the crowd thrilled over Dijon’s quirks and pretty much everything else that happened. “You sound amazing!” “You’re killing it!” they screamed, along with other statements in the tiny venue, small enough that Dijon definitely heard it all.

You would think this might enliven him a little more, but you would be wrong. Despite these calls of encouragement, Dijon never quite looked comfortable with the stage. As he introduced new material, he asked the audience to “sing along.” At a more invigorating concert, people overlook these faux pas, but even this dedicated audience responded with some confusion.

Though he faltered in a few different ways, Dijon deserves praise for other aspects of his show. Unlike many acts, he introduced his band right after the opening number. This introduction put an emphasis on their presence from the beginning. The Dijon concert experience involved more than just him, and you appreciated him acknowledging such. This way, you paid more attention when their guitar riffs and saxophone melodies graced the arrangements.

When wielding a guitar of his own, Dijon also transformed into a much more compelling performer. The strings occupied his hands and the instrument kept him grounded. The unreleased “Rock ‘n’ Roll” delivered on its title, as did most of his new material.

Ultimately, Dijon never lacked for quality music, which does resonate with sincerity. The intimacy described on “Cannonball” and “Skin” practically brushed against you, which makes the audience’s infatuation a bit understandable despite his rough presence. But once his stage persona finally matches his musicianship, Dijon will truly be a sight to see.

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