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Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Three things to know about a Bilal show (live at Center Stage, Feb. 14)

Whether humping the speakers, rolling around tragically on the floor, hopping into the crowd to hug random women, and hitting notes so otherworldly he starts to look like an alien, Bilal is entertaining as hell and is giving Ringling Brothers a run for their money as the greatest show on earth.

Three Things To Know About a Bilal Show:

1) He likes to spend time on the ground. There were several times throughout the night, when so enthralled by the utter urgency of his music, he simply plopped to the ground … and laid there. While crooning an achingly agitated version of “Make Me Over” he rolled around on the floor until he found a speaker that he liked, thrust his leg over it, and proceeded to hump it, lovingly so.

2) He enjoys taking off his shirt. After exiting the stage for a brief moment following a rousing performance of “All for Love” he returned all doo-wop-y and calm, snapping his fingers like a Harlem Renaissance jazz musician, before abruptly hopping onto the drum set platform and screaming out high notes like a possessed man. Which led perfectly into his signature song, “Sometimes.” Intoxicated by the crowd’s heated response, he ripped off his plaid button-up and proceeded to demonstrate exactly what he would look like if he really did ever decide to put his “foot up yo’ ass.” His shirt became bothersome again during his four-song encore, and during “Tainted Love” he had to rip it off, this time revealing his chest, much to the satisfaction of the boo’d-up Valentine’s Day crowd.

3) His voice is an instrument. Not only is he virtually genre-less (his slow, throbbing version of Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You” is the best this side of Mars) but he’s mastered his vocals to the point where it sounds less like singing and more like he’s playing his own voice. This became blaringly apparent when he started scatting at the end of “Sometimes” — instead of freestyling, he was actually hitting correct notes. Bottom line, he’s one of the most exciting artists to watch right now, no matter what the genre.

See more photos from Shannon McCollum and Michael Jordan below the jump.

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