It has been a whole decade since a new album from British soul duo Floetry, but the act still has plenty of flow.
The Floetry reunion came to the Pageant Friday night for a sold-out show with Marsha Ambrosius (the singer) and Natalie Stewart (the poet).
The women didn’t address why they broke up or why they’ve been gone so long, only that “we’re here for you,” which seemed good enough for the fans.
There was also no new music to promote or preview, and no idea whether this reunion was just for now or the long term. The women just picked up where they left off, presenting songs from their 2002 album “Floetic” and their 2005 album “Flo’Ology” with songs from their respective post-Floetry careers.
Whatever happened to kill the group’s vibe a decade ago, the magic was still there as the harmonious duo brilliantly played off of each other’s strengths (while mostly not standing side by side).
Floetry’s main formula — Ambrosius either singing behind Stewart’s poems delivered in a raplike cadence or Stewart providing spoken breaks to Ambrosius’ often impressive wailing — was intact.
“If you know these songs, you need to sing along,” Stewart said early on as Floetry and the four-piece band delivered on “Big Ben,” “Ms. Stress,” “Headache” and “Mr. Messed Up.”
Just a few songs in, Ambrosius left the stage to give Stewart her solo set, which felt a little premature. She told the fans she has been home in the U.K. with her people, her family and her poetry community before performing songs such as “Breathe” and “The Stand” that stressed her empowering, uplifting solo sounds.
Ambrosius’ set started with an admission of something those who’ve followed her solo career already know. She declared herself “ratchet,” but in a sophisticated way and hurled a string of obscenities to let fans know she meant it before performing “Hope She Cheats On You (With a Basketball Player).”
Watching the two women perform separately, one could surmise why they might have broken up in the first place — something that was never made entirely clear to fans. Clearly, they work from a different aesthetic musically.
“SupaStar,” “Sunshine” “Butterflies”/“I Can’t Help It” and “Hey You” during which Stewart said to “sing for the people of Ferguson, sing for the people everywhere,” were among the songs performed together, as well as crowd-pleasers “Say Yes” (which featured a proposal between two women down front) and “Getting Late.”
“Floetic” was halted quickly by Stewart shortly after the song started. The song, with its lyrics describing who and what Floetry is, was the group’s breakthrough, and Stewart felt fans should have jumped up and pumped their fists once the song started.
After making that clear, the band restarted the song, and many fans stood up and jammed. giving the song the attention Stewart felt it deserved before the duo broke out in party vibe riffing on songs by Nelly, the Junkyard Band, Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock.
Also on the Telisha, Janine and the Mixtape and X Blu Rayne.