Spirited and sanguine, singer Dionne Farris’ life beyond her former rap band Arrested Development deserves attention from all corners of the pop world for her bold walk away from formula hip-hop beats. Performing songs from her debut Columbia disc “Wild Seed — Wild Flower” to a relatively sparse Roxy crowd, Farris convincingly balanced a variety of genres — blues, hard rock, reggae, funk — and maximized the potency of her vibrant voice in a strong rock-band setting.
After starting with a crackling and bluesy version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird,” Farris performed with the unbridled energy of a teenager at a sock hop. She danced to every number, a ball of energy that none of her bandmates matched nor detracted from, and made the music delightfully inviting. As well as she sings, Farris is also a joy to watch.
Farris and group were crisp on each number, particularly her current single “I Know,” a song that belongs in the company of Sheryl Crow rather than other R&B hits, and “Passion,” a fiercely buoyant piece of funk that showcased her dynamic way with a lyric. The brief set may have shortchanged her audience, but Farris’ clarity of purpose was too apparent for anyone to leave disappointed.