Recap and Gallery: Erykah Badu as DJ Lowdown Loretta Brown
April 21, 2011
Erykah Badu is a woman of many faces, and she has names for each of them–Medulla Oblongata, Analog Girl in a Digital World, and Sarah Bellem. Tonight’s featured persona is DJ Lowdown Loretta Brown, and as the name implies, there was plenty of funk and soul to go around tonight. At Ruby Skye, on the most marijuaniest of days, she played a DJ set that seemed to move from style to style with a heaping of classic soul to glue everything together. The analog girl seems digital friendly, who regularly sports MacBooks and effects boards at shows, including Coachella the past weekend, and today she had a nimbleness with technology that had her backup technician sitting bored without any trouble to shoot. Ruby Skye is a fairly moderately sized hall, with ample dance floor space, but the way Badu approached her set, it might as well been her sharing her favorite records with a group of friends. Starting her night with rap tracks along with the songs they sampled from, she eventually eases into an all-soul lineup of songs, moving from classic tracks from the likes of Bill Withers to James Brown. But every now and then, once the dance floor moved to a lull, she’d switch it up with something entirely different, from a Kraftwerk track, to Lil Wayne, even a Far East Movement track, and the place jumps again. But she always goes back to her favorites, interjecting with names and years. “Mary Jane Hooper. 1969. She funky!” At the end of the night, she recounts a story of when she visited Cuba, and a trip to a fortune teller lead her to a nattily dressed man who inconspicuously was the shaman priest taught her how to let loose with the headwraps and be herself. This was after several times teasing she was ending her set and singing a bit after the records were done playing. Unlike Coachella, no one was going to cut her mic, and perhaps she was determined to finish it however she wanted to, no matter how long it took.