SG Lewis’ ‘times’ touches down in Brooklyn I Photos by Collin Black [Review]
If SG Lewis listeners took times: The Live Experience as the template for his tour in support of the LP, they wouldn’t be mistaken in doing so, but they would be in for a few surprises, as his December 3 appearance at Brooklyn’s Avant Gardner demonstrated. On the eve of February 19—times’ release day—SG Lewis took to the stage for a virtual performance that saw him cover the tracklistings in a front-to-back fashion, sans an in-person audience. At the time, the livestream was the closest that Lewis’ following could come to seeing times in all of its disco-laden drip. And thanks to Lewis and company’s production-trained fine tuning, amid COVID-19’s pause on live music programming, times streamers got a faithful look at what a stop on the tour would look, sound, and feel like.
This was evident at Lewis’ sold-out stop in New York. The inspiration for times and its association with the disco culture detailed in Tim Lawrence’s Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979 considered, it’s fair to say that the New York date was a particularly impactful one in the context of the times album tour. Lewis was in New York, after all, playing his debut album in close proximity to the places where disco and its community first blossomed: NoHo, Hell’s Kitchen, and midtown Manhattan.
The evening’s novelty was felt not only by those in attendance, but also by the album maker himself.
“New York shows always have a special energy to them, and this one in particular had been sold-out for so long prior to the show. I got to play both a live set and a two-hour DJ set to a sold-out room, and the energy the crowd gave me was unrivaled,” SG Lewis told Dancing Astronaut. “To have my whole family there for the show was the cherry on the cake. [I] won’t forget that one in a hurry.”
Though the live set portion was rife with times inclusions, Lewis snuck in some productions from the Dusk, Dark, Dawn era into the setlist, including “Sunsets – Pt. 2,” “Warm,” and “Hurting” with AlunaGeorge. Kaleena Zanders appeared as a surprise guest, providing the live vocals for “Hurting.” The “Paradise Edit” of “More Than A Woman,” worked in at the live set’s end, was a welcome nod to another non-times staple of Lewis’ catalog.
Flicks from Lewis’ live set, captured by Collin Black, encapsulate the palpable energy of the times tour stop, during which times‘ inclusions—initially enjoyed in living rooms across the nations—leapt out of those spaces to enjoy the embrace of the crowd, as SG had always intended.
Featured image: Collin Black