Howard Theatre shut it down Sept. 6 for Friday Night Lights with singer-songwriter Elle Varner.
The show was the official party of the AT&T Nation’s Football Classic. Since her debut album, “Perfectly Imperfect” came out last year, Varner has been gaining momentum in the music scene. After acknowledging that D.C. has been loyal to her since her mixtape days, Varner put on a show to remember.
The line wrapped around the corner of Howard Theatre before attendees were allowed inside. While there was no opening act, guests were entertained by 90s and early-mid 2000 throwbacks such as “One Thing” by Amerie and “Freakum Dress” by Beyonce. The songs and dancing were a great pre-game for the night ahead.
All at once, the pre-game festivities ended and Varner whispered a greeting to the audience as she stood offstage. The crowd cheered as the curtains rose, revealing a set complete with a band, backup singers and glowing blue and purple lights. She started her set with her hit single “Only Wanna Give It To You” as the crowd sang along. To everyone’s astonishment, when Elle approached the J. Cole featured section of the track, she freestyled her own lyrics.
Varner broke out her guitar as well, performing “Damn Good Friends” and “Stop the Clock.” She dedicated “So Fly” to all the ladies in the audience and reminded the fans about how far she’s come in her personal journey.
Varner’s performance was filled with countless surprises, from beads flying off her dress to bringing her father on stage to play the piano with her. She even shed her quirky side for a sassier approach as she sang a new song “Tiny Little Temper.”
She wrapped up the show with more of her hit singles such as “I Don’t Care” and “Not Tonight.” The singer’s most well-known songs “Refill” had everyone in the crowd on their feet dancing, singing along and wanting a refill of Varner as she closed out the show.
With only one album (“Perfectly Imperfect”), and a mixtape (“Conversational Lush”) to her name, Varner’s show turned more people from casual listeners to devoted “Ellephants.”