REVIEW+PHOTOS: BJ The Chicago Kid | “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 BJ The Chicago Kid gave a performance that surely won over many a new fans.

Goapele | El Rey Theater | 11/18/14 [Review, Photos and Video]

Concerts, Pictorials | Videos, Reviews

Goapele: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Earlier this year, I got a call from management to negotiate a side artist agreement for a track Snoop was to be featured on. When I asked who the featured verse was for, management indicated that it was a female R&B singer named Goapele.

Goapele … that name sounded so familiar to me.

I quickly opened my iTunes and found that I had purchased a compilation back in 2004 titled “California Soul”, and nestled in as the fourth track of the album was Goapele’s track titled “Childhood Drama”. Apparently, after listening to the track 12 times to date, I’ve given the track 5 out of 5 stars. With it’s smooth production value, and dreamy vocals, I was bit surprised that I never opted to purchase more music from this artist.

After concluding negotiations on the agreement, Goapele’s manager offered to give me a comp ticket and a photo pass to her performance at the El Rey. Arriving at the venue for the performance, I got to meet Goapele’s manager and publicist, who let me know, with appreciative glows in their eyes, that Snoop had called earlier in the day to wish Goapele luck.

Goapele’s fans had arrived at the venue early like me, sitting on the steps close to the stage, bordering the perimeter of the venue. As I scanned the audience, I noticed that the audience was filled predominantly with women. Let’s put it this way, if you were a single guy, the odds … attractive odds … would definitely have been in your favor.

I made my way to the front of the stage and staked out my position, engaging in small chit chat with some of the female attendants who would occasionally peek at the photos I took during the show, smiling with approval.

The opening act for Goapele was a singer songwriter name Josiah Bell.

I couldn’t find too much about this artist online prior to his performance other than the fact that he was (as of June 26th, 2014) dating actress Jurnee Smollett of “True Blood” fame and that he was a big fan of vinyl records, so I listened to him with open ears.

Josiah is a solid singer whose vocal range, and timbre, reminded me of Brian McKnight. His music is pure R&B and I was pleasantly surprised with what I heard. Perhaps my favorite part of his set was when his band took a break, and he sang a song while playing the keys. His voice, exposed and raw, demonstrated a tenderness with firm foundation that I wanted to hear more of. I understand that he recently had a string of performances at the Hotel Café. If it was just him and his piano, I’m sure that those performances would have been definitely worth the price of admission.

To see additional photos and video from Josiah Bell’s set opening for Goapele CLICK HERE

When Goapele took the stage, the first thing I noticed was her fierce, blond-dyed short hair and the beautiful angles of her face. With the house lights reflecting off her gold embroidered dress, I was literally in awe of how regal and strong she looked. When she started singing, I basically fell in love.

Her music hit all the right notes with me. From powerful to playful, from longing to seductive, the music both induced me to dance where I was standing and to scan the crowd to see if I could catch the eye of a potential soul mate. Though my dancing was awkward, and my scanning was fruitless, there was no time to dwell on my own deficiencies as Goapele’s music kept flowing and had me vibing … hard. It was almost a musical soul cleansing. It was music that didn’t rely on modern day gimmicks. It was solid songwriting, enhanced by a distinctive Sade-like voice.

Having singed recently to Eric Benet’s record label, Jordan House, she had, to the delight of the females in the audience, Mr. Benet join her on stage for a number.

When Goapele’s set had finished, I made it a point to thank her team for giving me the opportunity to review and shoot her performance. When Goapele came from backstage to greet fans, I was briefly introduced to her by her manager. When she thanked me for being diligent in finishing Snoop’s agreement. I could only thank her for performing that evening so sublimely. If I had known her better, and if there wasn’t a line of at least 70 fans anxiously waiting at the merchandise booth to meet her, I would have told about the rollercoaster of emotions that she put me on that evening and that I’m making some room on my CD racks for more of her music, because having only one of her songs is simply not enough.

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Yuna | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

Concerts


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KING | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [PHOTOS & REVIEW]

Concerts

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

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Opening for Yuna at the second installment of Santa Monica Pier’s Twilight Concert series was KING, a trio of women whose soul infused electronic sound really impressed me. Relying only on their voices, and an electronic keyboard, the audience reveled in some soul music that has had the soul-community buzzing about them as of late.

They vocal blending was about as good as I’ve heard since my collegiate chorale days. Often times, I couldn’t tell who was singing, as their voices really meshed as one.

As the sun set, their jazzy vibe complimented it perfectly. Couples held each other a little tighter, and bodies were grinding slowly to their sensual sounds. I can only imagine what it would be like to see them performing in a small, smoky jazz club. That’s where’d I’d LOVE to see them perform next.

I wasn’t able to find a setlist for, or video clips of, their performance, but if you happen to know where I can find some, let me know in the comments and I’ll add them to the blog! In the meantime …

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

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

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

Yuna | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [INSTAGRAM VIDS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

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Below are Instagram clips from most, if not all, of the songs from Yuna’s set at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series. Enjoy.

 

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

KING | Twilight Concert Series | Santa Monica Pier | 7/17/14 [INSTAGRAM VIDS]

Concerts

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!

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Below are Instagram clips from most, if not all, of the songs from KING’s set at the Santa Monica Pier as part of the Twilight Concert Series. Enjoy.

 

CLICK HERE to check out other acts performing a Twilight Concert at the Santa Monica Pier!