Haunted holiday vibes were in full-effect last night as the one and only musical madman Bilal spooked us silly in a career spanning set by the lanes of Brooklyn Bowl. The foundational Soulquarian cast sonic spells over the crowd, belting out shrieks and squalls as he blazed through all of our most cherished cuts with a masterful command over his five-piece ensemble. “Soul Sista”–naturally– brought the country-funk to light and put a permanent stank on the faces of all who witnessed it, while the bleeding-heart confessional “Sometimes” tore heart-strings one-by-one. But Bilal’s great and ghoulish set hit its high point on “All Matter,” the searing love song that’s been a career highlight now for years. Just as the frontman’s voice flipped effortlessly from jagged howls to smooth falsetto, Bilal’s band turned back and forth on a dime, taking the tune’s verses through a low burn rework before exploding with each chorus. An indisputable standard of present-day r&b, last night’s packed crowd at Brooklyn Bowl went wilder with each note.
All in all, it was another fine showing from one of the best to ever do it, leaving us all in an emotional haze at its riotous conclusion, which was capped-off with some powerful words from Saul Williams (who also performed earlier in the evening with Dragons Of Zynth) And it was the only way we could have imagined bringing in the holiday season, chopping it up with friends and fam as the pros keep the musical merriments a churnin’. So a merry one to all of you, where you’re at. Hoping your holidays are/were as sweet as ours were last night.