Written By: Xavier Mattison
For some artists, performing live can be an excruciating ordeal. With new artists cropping up on the internet seemingly every day, many are not well adjusted to perform live in front of an audience. There have been countless stories of artists leaving shows abruptly, complaining of lack of crowd energy or microphone malfunctions. Most recently, Dave East had left his set in Detroit early. Performing live is crucial to not only cultivating a sturdy fanbase but to making a living as an artist. Streaming only allows for a small portion of artists to get a piece of the pie, many younger more amateur acts rely on live shows and festivals to earn a substantial income. With all of that on the line, putting on a fun, engaging and relaxed show is almost just as if not more important than putting out a good album. On the rare chance that you do put out a good album and a great live show, you can all but guarantee that your career will be solidified within the music industry. For DVSN both of these feats were seemingly effortless. Having already been pleased with their most recent album, Morning After, seeing them live only enhanced my reverence for them as artists.
DVSN played at the Majestic Theatre in Detroit. The small setting proved big enough to accommodate for the plethora of fans that were lined up around the block but was also intimate enough to perfectly accompany their music. Although the majority of people in attendance were in their mid to late twenties by the looks of it, audience members of all ages were in attendance. Instead of a traditional R&B opening act, the concert began with a set from a local DJ. The music hall’s ambiance was clearly mellow but that didn’t stop the DJ from playing a wide assortment of trendy Trap and Hip-Hop. While at first jarring, I soon began to enjoy how hype the audience was getting from the set. The standout moment from the opening act would be when both the Dj and his hype man tried to coerce a woman into joining them on stage. She politely declined.
As DVSN’s Daniel Daley began to enter the stage, the energy of the room completely changed to accommodate his presence. Couples began getting closer and falsettos were thoroughly prepared for complete vocal fry by the night’s end. As Daniel Daley dove right into his performance the audience followed. Morning After, the duo’s second album, has only been out for a mere 4 months making the audience’s near perfect recital of every word extremely impressive. As Daley transitioned from songs off of Morning After to Sept. 5th, DVSN’s first and critically acclaimed album, the fans kept pace. Every word uttered by Daley sounded as if it came from a studio recording.Songs such as Mood and Conversations in a Diner were given visuals that played behind Daley during their duration. His renditions of modern classics such as Childish Gambino’s Redbone or Miguel’s Pussy is Mine. In a very gracious move to give his vocal chords some rest, Daley thanked the audience and left the stage briefly to let one of his backup singers take the reigns for a song. The young woman, Shantel May, performed her new single Back and Forth which was met with thunderous applause from the audience. This came as no surprise considering her immense talent and similar musical genre. Once her mini-set ended Daley resumed his show. As the concert wined down audience members began whispering in anticipation of DVSN’s signature single. The song that would gain them a cult following. The Line. Daley finally performed the ballad with emotion and strain. It’s hard to believe that he performs with such passion at every stop on his tour.
A new generation of R&B has taken over the current soundscape. Heavy autotune and catchy singles seem to dominate the charts. That is what makes DVSN such a diamond in the rough. With contemporary beats from DVSN’s producer, Nineteen85 DVSN manages to be one of the most relevant R&B acts out now without falling to gimmicks. Aside from being the best act to come out of Drake’s label, OVO, DVSN is also one of the best acts to come from the Pop-R&B wave that ushered in artists such as Tory Lanez and Bryson Tiller. There is no competition amongst their contemporaries, Nineteen85 and Daniel Daley are the kings of modern R&B.