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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 20 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 29
Ocean at high tide in Seattle appearance
Arts & Entertainment
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Ocean at high tide in Seattle appearance

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

FRANK OCEAN
SHOWBOX AT THE MARKET
July 13


The buzz surrounding Frank Ocean, rumored to be Bisexual after acknowledging a prior relationship with a man, had little to no impact when he played the Showbox Market last weekend. The concert had been sold out weeks before news of his personal life was magnified by the media, and no one at the show brought it up for discussion. Everyone was there to hear Ocean sing, and he did that amazingly.

'Novacane' was one of the first songs on his set, sounding sultry and cool with audience members belting out the chorus. Like the pro that he is, Ocean hung onto the final notes and displayed great versatility in his vocal range. He hit the highest and lowest notes without difficulty and without seeming to show off.

'I wanna play something from the new record, if that's okay with y'all,' said Ocean to screaming fans. 'I'll take that as a yes.' He then did 'Sweet Life' from his breakthrough album, channel ORANGE. During the song, two college-aged guys who apparently had sneaked into the venue were abrasively escorted out.

Wearing baggy jeans, an untucked red long-sleeve shirt with white T underneath and a candy-striped headband, the rising, handsome R&B/hip-hop star surfaced recollections of a young Pharrell Williams. Ocean performed with a full band whose members stood in front of a wall-sized transparent curtain. A large image of a UFO was visible through the curtain.

'Forrest Gump' and 'Super Rich Kids' both got play time Friday night, as did 'Made in America,' a track appearing on Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne CD that features Ocean.

'I feel good, I feel good,' he told everyone with a smile. Ocean was certainly interactive and polite with the crowd, who came from various backgrounds. He drew a diverse mix of folks, mostly in their 20s and 30s, that included attractive Asian men, dolled-up black women, urban white dudes, and a sprinkling of Gay boys.

A sea of hands were waving in the air during 'Crack Rock,' and again during the closing number, 'Pyramids.' In a nice and rather uncommon gesture, Ocean said a few words to the audience before exiting the stage.

But concertgoers, chanting 'Encore!' and stomping their feet, refused to go home. Their persistence paid off, as Ocean delighted us with two more songs: a hushed, slick rendition of 'White,' on which he played keyboards and was backed by a lone guitar, and 'I Miss You,' co-written with Beyonce.

Frank Ocean is enjoying his breakthrough year. He's not entirely new, having launched his career as a ghostwriter for several major acts and collaborated with close to a dozen artists on various tracks and albums in the past few years. There's depth to this guy's talent, and on stage he appears controlled, passionate, and happy to be in the moment.

Ocean hasn't officially come out as Gay or Bi, at least to my knowledge - he's only confessed to a single same-sex relationship. If there's more to tell, he'll reveal it at his own pace. I do know this for sure: he's not going anywhere but up. Way up.

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