I stumbled in about 15 minutes late to a captive crowd and a mood dripping of sexiness - Van Hunt was in full swing at Yoshi's Oakland.
Mic clutch, check. Possible pelvic thrusting, check check.
Women repeatedly yelped out for the handsome soulster to "take it off!" I'm not sure he heard it, though - because I'm sure he'd have blushed. Van carries himself with an unapologetic style and confidence, bobbing around lost in his own music one moment, and doing a silly boogie down to the floor another, all whilst sipping on some red wine. But just the same, he has this mysterious shyness about him. Mellow and no frills, though, the man is quite endearing.
And his smooth voice hit just the same live - it is amazingly true to his recordings. In my opinion, it takes true talent to be able to deliver such on point vocal quality during a live show.
Taking a couple trips to the "ledge" of the tiny Yoshi's stage, Van even made a descent into the audience and serenaded doe-eyed fans.
The crappiest part of the show: it felt too short. An hour long set went by much too fast. And he only had an 8 p.m. set versus the usual Yoshi's 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. sets. Yoshi's fail.
Once he wrapped a slowed version of "Down Here in Hell (With You)," the room let out a collective exasperated sigh as Van walked off stage. I even thought it was over. Everyone really worked to get homeboy back on stage.
And he came back. Complete with guitar, ready to sing a previous request from an audience member. He ended with his band of young styled out rocksters and performed the bouncy "Hold My Hand."
The crowd merrily clapped and sang along to the very end.
Seher Sikandar is a Bay Area-based photographer and writer who covers art and lifestyle events. Check out her portfolio at rehescreative.com.