RJ Krohn ended RJD2 classic, “Ghostwriter,” in a robot costume, and a powerful stroke to the guitar strings. Krohn emitted bass and soul Friday night through the Metro Chicago during his set with special guests Vocalist Jordan Brown, Rapper STS and Vocalist Son Little. While “Ghostwriter” and “The Horror” are just a couple of favorites that satisfied RJD2 fans Friday, I was most compelled by the multiple talents that Krohn showcased.
He switched from spinning the knobs on multiple turntables, to singing, to playing guitar throughout the night, wowing the crowd, and keeping the room in constant motion. Towards the beginning of the set, Krohn proposed to the audience the idea of inviting one or two of its members up to the stage.
The crowd went ballistic, so having gotten our approval, he pointed to someone in the front row, and onto the stage hopped Jordan Brown.
“I’m sorry I stepped on your shoe earlier,” Brown suavely declared into the microphone, pointing up to the balcony level. With RJD2’s 15-year presence on the music scene, his familiarity and friendliness created an ever-more energetic audience.
That prefaced the song, “Peace of What,” a beautiful, cheerful track, with a solemn twist, off RJD2’s most recent album, Dame Fortune. Brown’s vocals flew through the Metro, and landed on our shoulders like huge, monarch butterflies.
RJD2’s sound is professional and smooth, and adding Brown and STS brings even more fluidity to the set. In fact, RJD2 even mastered the late Prince’s “Darling Nikki” with Brown’s help. As is proven by his multiple talents, RJD2 is a chameleon, compiling a set of hip-hop, R&B and 1970s techno. Although this is a wide array of genres, his musical prowess brought the pieces together seamlessly.
Even the language in RJD2’s lyrics is diverse. STS laments an up-and-down relationship with someone who sounds like she might be a groupie, but to whom he almost wants to commit. And Brown sings of tumult and the world events that spark fear.
The happiness throughout the audience was another element that stood out to me during this performance. I saw a smile on every face I glanced at, and I even waved at and shared a laugh with a stranger from afar because he just seemed so jolly. And that’s thanks to the infectious sounds RJD2 composed.
The bassist provided another level of stage presence with his happy demeanor, as he slapped his instrument and gave the room a pulse alongside Drummer Chuck Palmer.
At the end of the set, I grabbed my sister’s hand as she led me to the front, where Krohn was shaking hands with his beckoning fans. Although I didn’t have a heartfelt, two-minute-long conversation with RJ like I did Eliot Sumner back in March, Krohn’s down-to-earth aura was unmistakable, as I obnoxiously held my hand out above the heads in front of me, and he made a serious effort to get to it.