Like his idol R. Kelly, R&B crooner Trey Songz’ performances are known to unpredictably shift between raunchy seduction numbers, lovely ballads, soul classics, and groove-filled party numbers. While the Virginia-born lothario seems cartoonishly over-the-top on songs such as “I Invented Sex” and “Panty Droppa,” hits like 2009’s “Say Aah” and current smash “Dive In” triumph—despite the lyrics and porny videos—due to Songz’ classic, honeyed syllable-stretching. Songz is joined tonight by Miguel and Elle Varner, two soulful serenaders who contribute some less traditional R&B elements to the show. Miguel mixes church-rooted falsetto, playboy swagger, funk, indie synths, and romantic pop on “Adorn,” the lead single from his latest album. On “Refill,” meanwhile, Elle Varner cleverly places a jazzy, bubbly melody over a sampled fiddle loop and kinetic keyboard rhythm. In an age when some R&B artists are only feuding on Twitter to get attention, Varner, Miguel, and Songz are currently focused on pleasing audiences old-school style—by showcasing their talent, not their attitude.
Trey Songz performs with Miguel and Elle Varner at 7:30 p.m. at DAR Constitution Hall, 1776 D St. NW. $75-$85. (202) 628-4780. dar.org/conthall.