"Don't like his baggy jeans but I might like what's underneath them" is only the funniest line of last summer's airy transatlantic hit "American Boy," in which Estelle Swaray plays London princess to Kanye West, who tries on British slang like a funny hat. But where the West End girl of the lyrics wants to "see L.A.," real-life Estelle met West and her soon-to-be longtime collaborator John Legend at a Roscoe's House of Chicken 'n Waffles in Los Angeles. Today, you can imagine a sing-rapper sampling Screamin' Jay Hawkins and riffing on Boogie Down Productions would want to see more than tourist coasts anyway. Hence this Minneapolis stop on a tour behind Shine, last year's second album and American debut, which appears to love hip hop in a way that doesn't guarantee it'll love her back. Funkier than the almost Stereolab-light breakthrough, it nevertheless floats out in the R&B cosmos opened up by Lauryn Hill and D'Angelo's "Nothing Even Matters," the vintage reggae samples and Cee-Lo guest vocals merely grounding Estelle in the retro-boho territory of Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse. Expect more and better from such an effortlessly swinging and conversational flow, especially as she absorbs New York. 18+.
Fri., Feb. 27, 8 p.m., 2009