REVIEW BY ROB NAGY
For Digital First Media
A mere 18 months ago, R&B soul sensation Leon Bridges was washing dishes at a Fort Worth, Texas diner. This past Sunday evening, the 26-year old singer headlined a sold-out show at the Fillmore in support of his debut record, “Coming Home.”
The pre-concert buzz was electric. More than 2,500 fans, predominantly middle-aged, packed the place in anticipation of the arrival of one of music’s rising stars.
Following a solid 30-minute set by opener “Son Little,” Bridges’ six-member band — Brittni Jessie (vocals), Austin Jenkins (guitar and bass), Rico Allen (drums), Kenny Hollingsworth (guitar), Andrew Skates (organ and bass) and Jeff Dazey (saxophone and keyboards) — took the stage to the raucous applause of an excited crowd.
Opening with his popular single “Smooth Sailin’,” Bridges was the epitome of cool and style in a vintage suit and tie as he strolled on stage, swaying side to side to the groove of the beat of his hip band.
Already being compared to the legendary Sam Cooke and Otis Redding, Bridges, with his charismatic stage presence, held the crowd in the palm of his hand. He displayed all the right moves and delivered flawless vocals. It quickly became obvious what all the industry buzz and building fan adulation has been about – Bridges was destined to be on stage!
Over the course of his nearly 90-minute set, Bridges performed stirring renditions of “Better Man,” “Brown Skin Girl,” “Twistin’ & Groovin’” and ”Flowers,” among others. fans bopped to the beat, whistled, cheered, sweat, sang along effortlessly to “Coming Home” and showered Bridges with well-deserved applause following each number.
Based on Sunday night’s performance, Bridges should shine in the spotlight for years to come. This young talent is poised to expose a whole new generation to the power of R&B and soul. Be sure to catch him next time he’s in town. It’s sure to be a fun ride!