A Year of Concerts: 2014


Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens | “Peace Train … Late Again” Tour | Nokia Theatre L.A. Live | 12/14/14 [Concert Review & Photos]

Yusuf Islam / Cat Stevens | “Peace Train … Late Again” Tour | Nokia Theatre L.A. Live | 12/14/14 [Setlist & Video Clips]

Jamestown Revival, Nikki Lane & Pete Molinari | The Troubadour | 11/30/14 [Concert Review]

Jamestown Revival | The Troubadour | 11/30/14 [Photos and Video]

Nikki Lane | The Troubadour | 11/30/14 [Photos and Video]

Pete Molinari | The Troubadour | 11/30/14 [Photos and Video] Continue reading

Maxwell | BET Experience | 6/27/14 [PHOTOS]



I’ve seen Maxwell in concert twice before. This was my first time going to a concert of his solo. I’ll have to admit, not having a date/guest for the show was a little different from the times before. The next time I go, I’ll have to try a little harder to get a female companion to go with me.

Ever since the release of his album “Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite” in 1996, I’ve been a fan. When it comes to male soul singers, Maxwell is up there on the top of my list. There aren’t many male vocalists who have the kind of command over their falsetto like Maxwell. As a former musician, I appreciate the talent.

His live performances have always lived up his albums. If you have any doubt of the quality of vocal ability, just purchase his “MTV Unplugged” album. His cover of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work” is prima facie evidence of his ability.

The women at the Staples Center that evening were ready for Maxwell and the sexiness he was about to unleash. His live show even got a little bawdy when he asked the women whether their “juices” were flowing yet. After singing songs like “Fire We Make”, “Fortunate”, “Lifetime” and his other radio hits, I kinda figured the answers were, “yes”.

My only criticism of the show had to do with the audience. Rule number one of concert-going is that you never leave until the house lights go up. I don’t care if you’re concerned about the traffic or if there’s a bar you want to hit up … if you have tickets for a show, why leave early? Odds are, you’re going to miss something that you wanted to see/hear.

Earlier in the evening, I heard a woman preach to her friend that she wanted to hear “Pretty Wings” performed “soooo bad”. Maxwell finished the main part of his set, before coming back on stage for an encore. By that time, I had noticed that the woman had already left (as did a fairly large chunk of the crowd). Maxwell didn’t perform “Pretty Wings” for his first encore (he performed “Ascension”), but he was back on stage for a second encore, and he performed “Pretty Wings” to close the night out. Literally a third of the audience had left in between encores, which is a shame, because Maxwell killed it.

I didn’t feel sorry for the young lady who left the show early. It just goes to show that you never leave a concert until the house lights go up. Her loss.

I wasn’t able to find a setlist online, but you can CLICK THIS LINK to get directed to a collection of Instagram Videos with snippets of most, if not all, of the songs that were performed at this concert.

I wasn’t approved for a photo pass for this performance, so I was only armed with my trusty, pocket-sized point and shoot camera. Not the best, but not to shabby sitting several hundred fee away if you ask me.


Maxwell | BET Experience | 6/27/14 [Instagram Videos]



Below are clips of each of the songs that Maxwell performed at this show. I may have missed a song or two. I hope you enjoy it.


BET Experience at L.A. Live | 6/27/14 – 6/28/29



Last year, I got the royal treatment at the BET Experience. Not only did I get the chance to see BeyonceSnoop, Kendrick Lamar, J. ColeR. Kelly, New Edition and The Jacksons perform on the main stage, but I was able to score an “Artist Pass” for the entire weekend, which allowed me to roam freely backstage at Staples Center. Armed with only a small Sony Cybershot G, I took photographs the best I could and actually ended up with some decent shots. After that weekend, I decided to take concert photography more seriously, because I determined that it was something that I truly had a passion for. Since that weekend, I’ve invested in some “professional” photography equipment that I could afford and have been self teaching myself how to snap, what I think, are decent concert photographs.

This year, I didn’t use any of my entertainment contacts to score a special tickets or photo/media passes. Rather, I applied independently as a blogger. Though I didn’t get any media or photo passes for any of the main evening concerts, I was approved for certain daytime events at the BET Experience at L.A. Live on Saturday and Sunday. The daytime events on Saturday and Sunday were free and open to the public, and it’s my opinion that anybody who is fan of soul, R&B and hip-hop music, and didn’t go to witness any of the events, missed out on a hell of an opportunity.

As fate would have it, I Complex Magazine saw fit to award me tickets to see the Friday evening concert featuring Jill Scott and Maxwell. I tried to sneak my DSLR and lenses into the Staples Center for that show, but ended up having to check my bag at guest services. However, I was able to use my trusty Sony Cybershot G point and shoot to take a handful of pictures that I think are worth posting on my blog.

Below is a list of all of the wonderful singers/rappers/performers that I was able to capture with my cameras. You’ll notice below that for each performance, I’m posting two separate pages: one for Instagram video captures, and one for photographs and my thoughts on the performance. I tried to take Instagram videos of each of the songs all of the artist’s performed. I don’t know everything about each artist, so if you know the names of the songs an artist sings, please let me know in the comments so I  can add it to the post.

I hope that what I’ve captured gives you a sense of what I experienced over the weekend. The photo/review pages will be posted in due course, as a solo blogger, editing and selecting pictures “worthy” of sharing takes a little bit a time. Hey, I took over 2000 pictures! Cut me some slack! LOL.

6/27/14 (Friday)

6/28/14 (Saturday)

6/29/14 (Sunday)

Shy Girls | The Spare Room and Bootleg Bar | 12/12/13 and 12/13/13


I was driving around town while listening to KCRW when the silky vocals and opening keyboard chord progression of a smooth jam gently flowed through my car’s speaker circuits. A rhythm guitar stealthily crept in, sweeping into a late 80’s, early 90’s, drum program with a subtle flourish line added to the chords that caught my attention. I know it’s dangerous to fiddle with your phone while driving, but I had to open up Shazam to find out who the artist was. It was Shy Girls and the track was “Voyeurs Gaze”. A throwback to the smooth R&B I grew up with.


When I got home, I immediately got online to listen to more tracks by Shy Girls. After listening to tracks from their latest EP “Timeshare”, I pulled out my credit card and purchased the LP. I’m selective about the vinyl that I buy, only purchasing records that I could let the pin drop and let play without having to get back up to skip tracks. For me, “Timeshare” was one of those albums.

After finding the artist’s Facebook page, I noticed that they had two scheduled performances the following week in Los Angeles, one at the Spare Room and the other at the Bootleg Bar. Being that the artist was from Portland, Oregon, I decided that this may be my only chance to see them perform for a while, so I planned on attending both shows.

I had a feeling that the shows would have been perfect for a date with a significant other, but c’est la vie en Los Angeles. The music is sensual. Being single, and living in Los Angeles (where convincing people that the music you like is in fact good is like pulling teeth), I’ll admit that I had second thoughts at the idea of going solo. I shrugged it off.

I was right. On both nights, Dan Vidmar and his band brought a mood I haven’t heard at a concert since I saw at Maxwell at the Hollywood Bowl. Like Maxwell, Dan Vidmar made good use of his breathy, falsetto singing engaging the audience to willingly become seduced. If I were at the show with a date, I would have made my move after the first song.

If “Timeshare” is the precursor to a full length album, there’s a lot for me to look forward to, and hopefully, by the time he goes on tour to support that album, I’ll have a date for the show.


The lighting in the venues was extremely difficult to deal with, but I did what I could. Unfortunately, the Flickr slideshow below is not currently available on mobile devices. If you are on a mobile device, please click THIS LINK to get redirected to the set of photos.