Neneh Cherry at Pitchfork 2014

 

Photo by Kari Terzino for Music.Defined.
Photo by Kari Terzino for Music.Defined.

It was her first performance on American soil in over 20 years, and the crowd showered her with appreciation as she stood before them on stage. Her arms open wide she confidently said “Let it begin.” Then she and her backing band Rocketshipnine tore up the Chicago stage and gave the audience anything but what they expected. A synth-drum duo, Rocketshipnine laid down some funky beats for Cherry to cover with her jazzy vocal stylings that always feel improvised. They cut through a bunch of songs off the record they just put out, including the single “Out Of The Black,” which features Robyn (though she did not appear here). After 45 minutes of soul/jazz-melding rhythms and vocal virtuosity, Neneh gave the crowd what they wanted: “Buffalo Stance.” Albeit a much different version than we’re used to. It was actually the low point of the set for me, but I’m still glad she played it. Sun Kill Moon is up next.