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Posted: 7:49 p.m. Saturday, March 15, 2014

SXSW review: CeeLo Green brings buckets of saucy soul to Rachael Ray's Feedback 

Cee-Lo Green at Rachael Ray's Feedback
Cee-Lo Green picks up Rachael Ray during his performance at Stubb's during SXSW on Saturday, March 15, 2014.

By Deborah Sengupta Stith

By 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, early rains had given way to a muggy haze that hung heavy in the air. Stubb's BBQ was uncomfortably packed for Rachael Ray's Feedback party, and movement through the crowd was difficult at best. But spirits were high and the mood was good.

As CeeLo Green's backing band, primarily females clad in flesh-tone body suits with sparkly embellishments, took the stage, a cheer went through the crowd. When CeeLo himself took the stage singing the feel-good track "It's Alright," he brought nothing but positive vibes and buckets of soul.

Green has a reputation as a somewhat inconsistent performer, but at his Stubb's show, he was absolutely on point. His vocals were on fire and dressed in a white silk tank top and pants, he worked the room with charisma and swagger like the unlikely sex symbol he's become.

"Let's celebrate our lives," he encouraged the audience, playing an upbeat set that included his biggest hits as well as a few crazy covers including Duran Duran's "View to a Kill" and the Pussycat Dolls "Don't Cha," a song that was actually penned by Green.

Describing himself as a man with multiple personalities (including "Mr. Low Jangles" which he joked was the broke stripper name he went by in his youth), CeeLo's set shifted between multiple phases of his career. High points included his shift into Gnarls Barkley hit "Crazy," which he played as an extended orchestral jam, and the Violent Femmes cover "Gone Daddy Gone."

Another exciting moment for long-time CeeLo fans was when he brought Big Gipp, his Goodie Mob partner in rhyme, to the stage for "Amy," a track from the group's 2013 release, "Age Against the Machine."

 But by far the crowd favorite was the song that Green said "made him rich and famous." Encouraging the crowd to let go of anyone holding them back, he took his set out on a high note with the uncensored version of YouTube sensation, ahem, "Forget You."

Deborah Sengupta Stith

About Deborah Sengupta Stith

Deborah Sengupta Stith is a music writer for the Austin American-Statesman.

Connect with Deborah Sengupta Stith on:Twitter

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