Last Thursday, rising R&B duo dvsn, the team of Grammy Award-winning producer Nineteen85 and fellow Toronto native Daniel Daley, visited Silver Spring, Maryland’s The Fillmore as part of their ongoing tour in support of their latest album, Morning After. The venue was sold out to capacity of 2000 as folks stood outside hours before the 9PM showtime, and were treated to an experience which they will never forget.
The show kicked off with the mood set by DMV radio figures DJ Analyze and Aladdin Da Prince, followed by E! News correspondent and OVO affiliate Tyrone Edwards, playing a bevy of r&b classics from Usher, TLC, Chris Brown, Aaliyah and more. Fifteen minutes then went by before the venue’s lights went dark, signaling the arrival of the man everyone in the crowd had bought tickets to see. With the screen behind him gone white, Daley appeared on stage as a silhouette, and starting off with a performance of Morning After‘s powerful intro “Run Away“, with vocals and production sounding just as crisp as they do on the actual album, all thanks to the work behind the boards by 85.
The screen displayed the visuals associated with the concepts behind their albums, all crafted by creative director Bryan Brock. In their interview with Donna-Claire Chesman of Pigeons and Planes, both the duo and Brock explained how they had already known the art direction of Morning After prior to the completion of the album itself, which was evident throughout the show.
For instance, at one point, a clip was shown of a man playing an acoustic guitar, leading into Daley’s performance of the album’s bouncy title track, which from his dancing you can tell is one of his favorite tracks to perform.
Each and every record of theirs performed received an immediate reaction from the crowd at the moment the first chord dropped, from “Too Deep” to “Conversations in a Diner“, songs which required the assistance of his trio of backup singers: Amoy Levy, Camille Harrison, and Shantel May, who are in fact credited as backup vocalists on both tracks (in addition to “Keep Calm“). At one point during the show, Daley switched places with May, allowing her to perform Beyonce’s “1+1“, as well as her own debut record “Back n Forth” produced by none other than Nineteen85.
The show wrapped up with Daley performing “Body Smile” and “The Line” back-to-back, garnering a thunderous round of applause for him, 85, and everybody else involved in producing such a magical performance. As Daley walked off the stage, credits rolled onto the screen while the refrain and outro of “Angela” played, thus culminating the cinematic experience which we were fortunate enough to bear witness.
The fact that dvsn put on such a dynamic performance is amazing, especially considering the fact it has really only been two-and-a-half years since “With Me” and “The Line” first arrived on Soundcloud. While I had already been a huge fan of dvsn and had been well aware of the talent Daniel and 85 possessed, the Fillmore show truly blew away all of my expectations, as they created an atmosphere surreal to the point where what was happening really didn’t feel like it was happening.
Because their music is so diverse, the show was thoroughly engaging from start to finish, as the vibe for each record gave off was entirely different from the next. The fact that the crowd was fully able to recite every single word of every track, from the pre-chorus on “Think About Me” to Isaac Hayes’ outro on “Don’t Choose“, only proved that there was truly a dvsn record for everybody. There were even a couple of records which I didn’t appreciate at first that I have grown to now love after hearing and seeing them performed, as every single record simply came to life.
After watching Daley on stage, it became clear that as vocally-gifted as he is, the man is truly in the business of putting absolutely everything into his craft. I stood in amazement over how the soft-spoken man that he is turned into the extraordinary performer I witnessed. You can’t help but root for him as he periodically makes sure that the audience is aware of 85’s presence in the building, and as he falls to his knees while performing “The Line”, a record which saw the fewest phone recordings and brought many in the crowd to tears as he was finishing up.
Those who are fortunate enough to attend a dvsn concert will undoubtedly garner an additional appreciation for not only the duo themselves, but also every single person who played a role in crafting such a memorable night. The visuals which appeared on the screen were just as impactful as the tracks they accompanied, which is truly a testament to the work of creatives like Bryan Brock in their tireless efforts to push forward the meaning of brilliance through the tour experience.
The Fillmore show was worth every penny and then some, worth the hours spent waiting in line for the doors to open, and worth the 15-minute break between Tyrone’s last “sexy record” request and the moment the light’s went out and Daley arrived onstage. And with the backing of 40 and the rest of OVO Sound, dvsn’s potential for stardom continues to appear more and more limitless.
dvsn may easily have the most impressive concert experience out right now. Don’t miss out on their remaining tour dates by purchasing tickets here, and be sure to follow dvsn on: