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This Little Underground

Our live music columnist checks out Emeli Sandé, AAHZ Reunion and Quitzow

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But the lady of the week was the dazzling Emeli Sandé (July 2, House of Blues). America’s just starting to get to know her, but she’s mega in the U.K. She’s a brilliant, rising R&B spark on the modern pop scene, well on her way to being a global nova.

Sandé fuses classic vocal finesse with forward musical taste, like a more hopeful Alicia Keys with just a splash of Massive Attack soul. But her approach is wholly viable commercially. There’s a difference between aiming for the universal and pandering to the lowest common denominator, and she shows how truly wide that gulf can be when done right. And her performance only deepened that universal quality. She was right there with us, fully in the moment and the rapture. There was none of the god-mortal divide common in witnessing these kinds of super-humans, even though she packs a voice that envelops you and lifts every hair on your body. I liked her before, a lot. But after seeing her live, it’s love.

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