As his band started to play the opening notes to “Better Man,” Leon Bridges made a promise to a sold-out crowd at the Bowery Ballroom. “We just got one goal tonight and that’s to make y’all happy.” Then soft-spoken Fort Worth, TX native looked like he had stepped out of a Delorean, bringing the 50’s with him. The opener, DJ Soul, felt like an anachronism, despite his best efforts in trying to mesh together noises of the past with modern rumble. His efforts in making J Dilla tracks his own didn’t really woo the crowd (except for one half of Cereal & Sounds was dancing the entire set), as everyone was motionless and anticipating for Bridges appearance on stage. When he finally did, the entire Ballroom lit up and shook as soon as the music started. The set was short, just performing 13 songs, performing all of Coming Home, two of them unreleased, and a Lauryn Hill cover (“Ex-Factor”). Every little aspect of the stage was a product of Bridges’ obsession with an era in time. From the vintage audio equipment to the old-timey clean-cut clothing, the stage was oozing with nostalgia. After spending an hour with Leon and company, it’s obvious that Bridges is a man of his word, leaving all of us smiling and wanting more.
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