Ora Cogan opened with a few disclosures: that the following songs were from her upcoming album, that this was to be the first time they were performed, and that her band would “get through it.” The audience remained chatty. That is, until Cogan’s first chorus — a vocal crescendo that illuminated every nook of the Fox.
There were moments of pause, and the occasional “oops” glance shared on stage. This new material was still untamed, unpredictable and exciting. With Ora Cogan embarking on a 40-stop tour this spring, their sound will only sharpen and fill out. But in that moment, it was its own perfection.
I had to fight for my spot for Chance Lovett and The Broken Hearted. The sight of a 10-piece band on the Fox stage was beyond impressive, meriting a premature applause from the audience. Chance Lovett, lead vocalist, radiated a comfortable and commanding stage presence;her banter was like chatting to a room of old friends.
They began with a funky number, each instrument represented and holding its own. Chance Lovett and The Broken Hearted played original songs from a debut album that they had just finished recording, and covered some soul classics — the most memorable cover was Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings’ “Better Things.” Lovett began by dedicating the song “to anyone who has ever had a crush left unfulfilled.” She continued, “To any of the sad girls in the club, this one’s for you.” If there were sad girls, it was hard to tell. The whole room was dancing to Chance Lovett and The Broken Hearted, challenging the city’s stereotype of frigid audiences.
If there was one point of criticism for the evening, it would be that apart from the strong lead vocals of Cogan and Lovett, there was little cohesion between the performing acts. It was an eclectic lineup. The transition from Ora Cogan to Chance Lovett and The Broken Hearted wasn’t as smooth as the transition to a Motown dance party that closed out the night. The one commonality between artists was more spiritual than stylistic: both Ora Cogan and Chance Lovett and The Broken Hearted were performing fresh material, both waiting to release new sound. The evening was, in essence, a pre-album release party, the restlessness before the summer fling.