Flint Eastwood shows promise in Detroit music scene

Sunday, April 16, 2017 - 5:31pm

Last year, I went to see an artist by the name of Flint Eastwood at the Blind Pig, largely on a whim. All I knew was that she called Detroit home. With only ten songs in her catalogue, she completely blew me away. Frontwoman Jax Anderson shone with brilliance on the small stage. She was a raging fire — a perfect storm so captivating it was impossible to tear your eyes away. I vividly remember smiling like an idiot the entire length of her performance, bobbing my head along at the back of the room. She’s that infectious. She’s the kind of performer whose love for her art radiates throughout the room.

A year later, Flint Eastwood dropped her new EP Broke Royalty at a special release show. The event took place last Friday in the lobby of the gorgeous Fisher Building in Detroit, providing an elegant backdrop for the event. Openers included fellow local artists Michigander, SYBLYNG and Tunde Olaniran (who is featured on the EP), and over 1400 people packed into the lobby for the event — a massive crowd compared to her performance at the Blind Pig.

Tunde Olaniran’s set was full of complex visual and auditory beauty. Flanked by two dancers and dressed in a sparkling golden gown, his time on stage was artful and engaging. Blending pop with hip hop, his music perfectly set the atmosphere for the show. The crowd reacted to every pulsing beat accordingly.

A little after 11 o’clock, Anderson took the stage with her bassist and drummer to explosive cheering — another testament to her rapidly growing recognition. But what has remained unchanged was her passion. Eyes latched onto her exhibition that night, drawn into her passionate movements and expansive voice. She’s fashioned herself as the perfect recipe for a pop star: charming, fierce and — most importantly — empowering to watch.

Performing in front of a LED screen featuring fierce shots of Anderson herself and other videography of a young woman for each song, her performance was visually rich, accentuated by her energetic presence onstage. She set the crowd ablaze early on with “God Only Knows,” from her first EP Small Victories, proving herself more than worthy of the regal venue. Soaring beats and snares flooded the venue as Anderson took control of the crowd. She’s great at her art, and her confidence reveals that she’s fully aware of that. It’s not a smug confidence, but one that is characteristic of all great pop stars — like Beyoncé and Gaga, Anderson wields her confidence like a weapon, untouchable and nearly ethereal when in her element.

Olaniran came on stage to perform the single “Push” from the new EP with the band. The track exchanges the poppier side of her music for a deeper R&B tone, adding depth and diversity to her arsenal of music. The crowd received the pace change well, and they mirrored the duo’s chemistry and charisma to match their groove.

Flint Eastwood’s performance served as an important reminder of the power that Detroit’s music scene holds. Local artists like Anderson and Olaniran are pushing boundaries with their genre-blending music and thoughtful, fully fleshed-out performances, and their fans only attest to the strength of Michigan’s budding music community. Her exhilarating performance of “Small Victories” had me smiling like an idiot once again, but this time I was accompanied by far more fans than last time indicative of the support received by today’s most promising up-and-coming musicians. Anderson might have relied on “small victories” at the beginning of her music career, but Friday night proved to be a massive victory, both for the artists present, and for Detroit’s own music community as a whole. Exciting things are happening in Detroit’s pop scene, and Flint Eastwood is going to be a must-watch artist moving forward.