An Outrageous romp
Tonéx apparently wasn’t kidding when he decided to name his monstrous 2004 release Out the Box. Originally, we all thought the title was just a reference to his tireless creativity, his caffeinated mind and his drive to blow everything he touches out of proportion. Out the Box: The Movie is a full glimpse into all of those qualities and more, as it finally bears audiovisual testament to what really went down onstage during the live recording of his third album.
You see, it’s Tonéx we’re talking about here, which means nearly every move he makes must have at least some measure of sanctified shock value. Quite appropriately, the flamboyant gospel vocalist
initiates the Out the Box proceedings by literally jumping out of a nine-foot-tall music box. Gimmick or show enhancer? Who knows, except that Tonéx looks equally silly and mesmerizing while
performing the act.
Almost without a break, Tonéx moves—and he really moves—through a set comprised of energized dance-rock anthems, progressive gospel, churchified praise romps, high-octane hip-hop and everything in between. Since each of these movements is carefully compartmentalized, the flow of the experience suffers when video producers decide to interject strange cutaways to various interviews, a number of schizophrenic editing tricks (on-screen text, manipulated photos, sub-par audience shots), ’80s-styled visuals, and random, low-quality music videos.
A crossbreed between a fire-and-brimstone gospel minister, a Broadway
showman and a tamer version of Prince, Tonéx isn’t afraid of mixing and matching sensibilities, sometimes at the expense of accessibility. This feat is what he would call “entertainistry,” at times treading the continuum between sacred and secular so dangerously, it’s hard to tell whether you’re watching a church service, a musical or a prog-rock extravaganza.
Good thing the cool factor of Tonéx’s choir, band and dancers—each of them moving judiciously to the beat of their master’s drum—offset the excessive visual pyrotechnics. This magnetism and attention to detail is what salvages Out the Box: The Movie from simply
being an exercise in overindulgence, where fashion always takes precedence over substance.
Review Provided by CCMmagazine.com