REVIEW+PHOTOS+VIDS: Raphael Saadiq | “Generations of Soul” | Mack Sennett Studios | 4/2/15

Concerts, Pictorials | Videos, Reviews

E&J Brandy is America’s most awarded brandy. Celebrating their 40th anniversary, they’ve embarked on a “Generations of Soul” campaign featuring the musical talents of Raphael Saadiq, BJ the Chicago Kid and Lee Fields. We were able to attend their private concert at Mack Sennett Studios on 4/2/15 and Raphael Saadiq gave a performance that embodied what modern soul music is all about. 

Faith Evans | BET Experience: Acoustically Speaking | 6/28/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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Hosted by the former Rap City and 106 & Park host Big Tigger, perhaps my favorite part of the BET Experience FREE Fan Fest was the intimate afternoon of performances at the Acoustically Speaking showcase. Taped live in front of an audience of not more than 300, the performances and interviews gave me an opportunity to “Experience” the sounds of some seriously talented, developing and established recording artists.

Each artist performed a short set of 4-5 songs. Each performance was followed by a one-on-one interview with Big Tigger. The performances and the interviews gave audience members an opportunity to really connect with each of the artists. It was truly a one of a kind performance experience.

The third artist to perform brought the house down. Faith Evans, a grammy award winning, singer-songwriter, is finishing up her 8th studio album, tentatively titled Incomparable and which is scheduled for release later this year, brought so much fire to her short set, the crowd couldn’t handle it, and was the only artist of the afternoon who was cheered onto the stage for an encore.

Faith’s set consisted of songs new and old, mixing up her set with R&B jams and ballads and an original gospel tune. After the performance of her gospel song, when she was called back onto the stage to perform an encore, she jumped into her classic “Love Like This”, during which she encouraged some of her audience members to come onto the stage to dance and sing with her.

After the crowd had settled down, and the interview commenced, Big Tigger stated as a matter of fact that Faith’s performance, “went from the church to the club in less than five minutes.” It was true and it was awesome to bear witness.

Make sure you folllow Faith Evans on Twitter so you can keep up with her album release updates.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Faith Evans performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Alice Smith | BET Experience: Acoustically Speaking | 6/28/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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Hosted by the former Rap City and 106 & Park host Big Tigger, perhaps my favorite part of the BET Experience FREE Fan Fest was the intimate afternoon of performances at the Acoustically Speaking showcase. Taped live in front of an audience of not more than 300, the performances and interviews gave me an opportunity to “Experience” the sounds of some seriously talented, developing and established recording artists.

Each artist performed a short set of 4-5 songs. Each performance was followed by a one-on-one interview with Big Tigger. The performances and the interviews gave audience members an opportunity to really connect with each of the artists. It was truly a one of a kind performance experience.

The second artist to perform was Alice Smith, a recording artist whose musical styles are anchored in rock, R&B, blues, jazz and soul, and whose latest album, the 2013 release “She” is a powerfully, emotional album that shines a light on all of her musical leanings. I love the eclectic nature of the album, and it’s one that I intend to pick up on wax if I can find it somewhere.

After her set, the videographer I was sitting next to and I looked at each other an nodded in approval with her performance. If we were both duly impressed, I’m sure you will be too. Hopefully, BET will air the entire performance and interview at some point, but in the meantime, CLICK HERE to check out what video clips have been posted on BET’s website.

Follow Alice Smith on Facebook by CLICKING HERE  to be updated about her upcoming performances and musical releases.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Alice Smith performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Stacy Barthe | BET Experience: Acoustically Speaking | 6/28/14 [PHOTOS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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Hosted by the former Rap City and 106 & Park host Big Tigger, perhaps my favorite part of the BET Experience FREE Fan Fest was the intimate afternoon of performances at the Acoustically Speaking showcase. Taped live in front of an audience of not more than 300, the performances and interviews gave me an opportunity to “Experience” the sounds of some seriously talented, developing and established recording artists.

Each artist performed a short set of 4-5 songs. Each performance was followed by a one-on-one interview with Big Tigger. The performances and the interviews gave audience members an opportunity to really connect with each of the artists. It was truly a one of a kind performance experience.

The first artist to perform was Stacy Barthe. Though you may not know much about her, you certainly know her music. She co-wrote “Hummingbird Heartbeat” for Katy Perry. She wrote “Everywhere You Go” for Kelly Rowland. She co-wrote “Cheers (Drink to That)” for Rihanna. Yeah, you’ve heard her music.

This was my first time listening to her music, and based on what I learned of her through her interview with Big Tigger, I could really feel how much emotional capital was invested into her music. Her struggles, her triumphs … her life … was all on display, and it was a revelation. Hopefully, BET will air the entire performance and interview at some point, but in the meantime, CLICK HERE to check out what video clips have been posted on BET’s website.

Her album is scheduled to be released on October 28th. Follow her on Facebook [StacyBartheOfficial] to get further updates.

CLICK HERE to check out a collection of Instagram videos of most, if not all, of the songs Stacy Barthe performed at this concert.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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

Concerts

 CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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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.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Faith Evans | BET Experience: Acoustically Speaking | 6/28/14 [Instagram Videos]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES/EVENTS THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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One of the BET Experience Fan Fest events that I was given permission to cover was the Acoustically Speaking series. I had absolutely no problem with that. Scheduled from 2pm – 6:30, various artists performed a short set of songs “unplugged” followed by an interview with the host, Big Tigger. It was a taped event, so I’m sure that these episodes will be edited for broadcast. Based on who I saw perform, I can affirmatively say that each artist is worth tuning in for.

Being up close to the artist while they performed gave me the opportunity to take some really good pictures. Please follow me so you can get notified when they get posted.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES/EVENTS THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Alice Smith | BET Experience: Acoustically Speaking | 6/28/14 [Instagram Videos]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES/EVENTS THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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One of the BET Experience Fan Fest events that I was given permission to cover was the Acoustically Speaking series. I had absolutely no problem with that. Scheduled from 2pm – 6:30, various artists performed a short set of songs “unplugged” followed by an interview with the host, Big Tigger. It was a taped event, so I’m sure that these episodes will be edited for broadcast. Based on who I saw perform, I can affirmatively say that each artist is worth tuning in for.

Being up close to the artist while they performed gave me the opportunity to take some really good pictures. Please follow me so you can get notified when they get posted.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES/EVENTS THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Stacy Barthe | BET Experience: Acoustically Speaking | 6/28/14 [Instagram Videos]

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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One of the BET Experience Fan Fest events that I was given permission to cover was the Acoustically Speaking series. I had absolutely no problem with that. Scheduled from 2pm – 6:30, various artists performed a short set of songs “unplugged” followed by an interview with the host, Big Tigger. It was a taped event, so I’m sure that these episodes will be edited for broadcast. Typically, concert taping events can be, at times, overbearing, but the BET production staff kept the pace moving, and it turned out to be an excellent afternoon of music.

I can affirmatively say that each artist is worth tuning in for. Make sure you keep you eyes (and ears) open for when the episode airs. You don’t want to miss any of them.

Being up close to the artist while they performed gave me the opportunity to take some really good pictures. Please follow me so you can get notified when they get posted.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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

Concerts

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES/EVENTS THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

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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.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE OTHER PERFORMANCES/EVENTS THAT I CAUGHT DURING THE BET EXPERIENCE AT L.A. LIVE

Cody ChesnuTT | The Troubadour | 3/30/14

Concerts

 

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On March 30, 2014, Cody ChesnuTT restored my faith in R&B music.

Over a decade ago, I first learned about Cody ChesnuTT  when he was featured on The Roots cover of his own recording titled “The Seed.” I made a mental note then to keep an ear out for more music from him, but for whatever reason, his music and my ears just didn’t cross paths.

Fast forward over a decade, and somehow I stumble on a live, radio-station, video performance of Cody performing songs off his latest release titled “Landing On A Hundred” without a backing band. I’m immediately amazed.

It was a sound so raw and soulful, it made me think of all of those legendary R&B and soul singers of the 70s. Music from the heart. Music from the soul. I absolutely fell in love with the music. Some people have compared Cody to Marvin Gaye. After listening to “Landing On A Hundred”, I’m willing to make that comparison as well.

As soon as my iPhone notified me that tickets for a show of his at the Troubadour were on sale (god-bless concert related iPhone apps!), I purchased tickets. Having gotten permission from Cody’s management to snap pics of the gig, I got to the venue early with a friend to get up close and personal. I just knew, in my gut, that it was going to be a mind-blowing performance. I was right.

When Cody, with his trademark helmet cocked on his head, and his band took to the stage, the audience erupted with a joy that I haven’t felt from an audience in a good while. A sudden emotional warmth enveloped The Troubadour, almost as if the venue itself exhaled at that moment. It was, at least for me, a surreal moment.

Cody’s performance was beyond enjoyable. In fact, with the breadth of emotion he revealed during his time on the stage; from pain, frustration and struggle, to joy, love and hope, I can truly say his performance is on my list of “favorites of all time”. Being able to capture some of those moments with my camera, gave me visual proof after the fact that I wasn’t just imagining it.

What made the performance so real was Cody’s interaction with the crowd. He engaged us. He talked TO us. He made us understand why the music he was singing meant so much to him. For example, he told us how the music on The Headphone Masterpiece saved his life; and though the music from that album came from a different time and space, having its own unique vibe, he could sing some of those tracks in the present because they matched and marched with his current vibe. He explained that “Love Is More Than A Wedding Day” was his favorite song off  “Landing On A Hundred”, further preaching to the audience that it takes effort to overcome martial struggles. He openly reminisced about the story of how his wife bought him his first guitar from a pawnshop; and how her belief in him and his dreams makes him want work that much harder to keep the relationship fresh.

Before he performed “5 On A Joyride,” he explained that that track was written after he had gotten dropped by Hollywood Records and ended up in a car with four friends tripping on magical mushrooms cruising the streets of Los Angeles. He even took a moment to give a shoutout to Suge Knight for being a man who actually gave him the creative freedom to create during his stint on Death Row Records.

I was blown away with Cody’s live show.  If you are a fan of R&B and Soul music that speaks from the heart, I beg you to attend one of his shows. You won’t regret it.

For the setlist, please click through the slideshow.