The Washington Post

In concert: Meshell Ndegeocello at the Birchmere

Meshell Ndegeocello showed off her quieter side on Tuesday at the Birchmere. (Photos by Josh Sisk/FTWP)

To watch Ndegeocello is to observe an musician who bares naked emotion that creates connection while still being staunchly committed to doing things her way. And that means disappointment for the exuberant fan who repeatedly shouted for 1993’s provocative dance jam “If That’s Your Boyfriend (He Wasn’t Last Night)”. It was clear it wasn’t going to be that type of party once she quietly took the stage accompanied only by her guitarist and eased into an acoustic take on the melancholy love song “Grace.”

Moments like these broke up the series of short études of the material from “Weather.” Ranging from alt pop to country and folk sounds, the tempos and the playing left large amounts of negative space for the lyrics to fill. “Bitter Mule” is a desperate plea that Ndegeocello explained was inspired by a bar owner friend who named an equine cocktail after his wife after she left him. The song ended abruptly, as if the lyric “I wish I could change your mind” was also the point where the protagonist gave up.


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